Carving a pumpkin is a sticky, messy project. Combine a large, tough vegetable with the challenge of making a two-dimensional pattern appear on a curved surface, and then add in sharp cutting implements ... it's a recipe for concentration and creativity.
Our cover image is from Mark Swarthout, who has written non-fiction and poetry for the Piker Press. His rendition of Harry Potter in pumpkin media is spectacular.
Lydia Manx, whose vampire stories have thrilled readers weekly since 2004, sends two: the first, a traditional scary-faced pumpkin, and the second, an elaborate carving of a witch, designed to let light shine through the pulp itself. (In next week's issue, Lydia goes into more detail about her pumpkins at Halloween.)
Sand Pilarski, West Coast Assistant Editor, carves a memoir of her first cat, Percy Vader, in her pumpkin effort.
"It was a breeze carving this pumpkin. I expected it to be much harder. Of course, it was only when I was done that I realized that the pumpkin was somewhat more than ripe. It did make the job easier, but after a while, the smell of gone-over pumpkin spoiled the effect. Well, Percy was kind of a rotten cat anyway."
The last photo, sent by Cheryl Haimann, Poetry Editor, is of a carving done by Hope Alexander.
"You know how it is when you spend a few fall days hanging around with your best pal who you haven't seen in far too long. One minute you're having a nice glass of wine, and the next minute someone says, 'You know what we should do? We should make a jack o'lantern.' We were not the most experienced pumpkin carvers in the world, but with the carving kit and a pattern, we dove in. Before it was over, we had broken all of the tools, and lost a yarn needle and a $300 earring that fell through the patio floor. Darned nice pumpkin, though. This year, Hope says she will carve one of the fake pumpkins from the craft store. 'If I'm going to put that much time and jewelry into it, I want it to last more than two days.'"
Carving is a great way to pass the time as we wait for the start of National Novel Writing Month.So far, Piker contributors who have signed up to write a 50,000 word novel during November include Lydia Manx, Jon Renaut, Cheryl Haimann, Josh Brown, Mark Swarthout, Sand Pilarski, Mary Klaebel, Schizophrenic Chick, Cherry Kelly, Dan Mulhollen, Holly Jahangiri, Wendy Robards, and Mel Trent.