Sometimes a writer needs a little juice to keep going. This can often take place at writing residencies, retreats and the like — and who doesn’t like a chance to get away and explore the belly button lint in their own navel? I’m not saying that’s what I do when I go on retreat, but who’s to stop you.

But sometimes you can’t get away from the demands of home, work, life. Sometimes you need a little pick me up of your own making. I designed this altar not too long ago, as the foggy days preambled into what passes for fall in the North Bay. The Day of the Dead was fast approaching, as was All Saint’s Day, and I felt like saying hello to Beatrice, who often visits me in my dreams and whom I know sits on my shoulder like a little angel-devil with a come hither stare telling me to just keep going into the void. Eventually you will find your way out.

And sometimes you just want to pay your respects to your artistic forebears, no?

Some candles, a few daisies, and don’t forget the chrysanthemums. A buddha statue with a few tea lights, a mala for the dreams, a scarf to keep the spirits warm, and of course some photos to evoke the dead. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and it doesn’t have to be this — but it’s awfully nice to step back, take a moment — take a breath, if you will, and light a candle in someone else’s honor.

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