It’s not original in any sense, but lately I’ve been in a fall mood. This is clearly no surprise as it is now the very early beginning of September and Halloween decorations, sweaters and pumpkin paraphernalia already decorate all venues of mass consumption meant to make you think you discovered the season including Halloween and Thanksgiving on your own when really it is fully by design. Fall does not necessarily need to be associated with a change in the weather. If stores decided to start selling fall clothes in May while toting pumpkin everything, I’m fairly confident the season could take place in the middle of summer.September is an awkward month. A few leaves may be on the ground, but the sun is still in a crispy state when you’re walking around town during the day, much too warm to wear a sweater, but you’ve already bought some new fall clothes and decide to wear it anyway, no matter the cost. So, the dying embers of summer, still capable of burning you despite it being “fall” and despite the atmosphere starting to look like fall too, seep through the cotton, cashmere or wool and start to warm your soul a little as you perspire- even if you try so hard to be “original” in the face of a fake season brought on by the consumerist society in which you live.
What put me into the fall mood? Well, it was actually a journey to Waffle House last Saturday morning with my boyfriend. In order to survive the mass caloric intake without gaining weight in one solitary meal, we decided to walk to the Waffle House around the corner instead of driving there. The simple act of walking brought us back to our collegiate days in which we walked to the dining hall, up Freshman hill or to the football games this time of year. Already nostalgic, we were further reminded of school when everyone at Waffle House seemed to don their college football tees and discuss the schematics of upcoming games at the counter (you know it’s almost like watching TV at Waffle House because the people at the counter are right there in the middle of everything and seem to talk as if they are on stage anyway).
But, there’s something about Waffle House itself, maybe the colors, maybe the comfort food, maybe the yellow dangling teeth in the sky bearing its name, calling you inside that brings about a fall feeling. The hanging bulbous lights against an off-white tile, the laminate wood tables and the atmosphere that makes you think of Friday Night Lights before and or after a football game inspires a scholastically-fall feeling. Everyone eating breakfast with us that morning seemed to be “in it,” with us even though none of us knew each other. There was just this swell of college football pride and a feeling that we were all in this changing season together.
Music also seems to set the mood and lately there have been several artists on my mind. I’ll start with The Black Keys because their music reminds me of school. Particularly, of Mississippi and perhaps that is because I discovered them while I was teaching in Clarksdale, MS. When I hear The Black Keys, I think of Ground Zero, the blues club co-owned by Morgan Freeman and Bill Luckett in Clarksdale where you can hear really great bands, you can scrawl in Sharpie on the wall and get a fried catfish sandwich. The Black Keys have never played there, but I get that same sort of rustic feeling, that fall feeling when I listen to them.
Lana Del Rey, Mumford and Sons and also the Avett Brothers are also on my fall soundtrack this season. While I’ve been observing the small details of fall and writing away at a new short story, my graphic novel and various poems, these details find their way into the plot lines. The music on my Pandora playlist could very easily be playing in the background of any of my settings. Stories could take place in venues like Ground Zero or in the crispy sun of early fall. I can’t seem to shake it.
On the docket for this weekend: taking the GRE, reading more C.K. Williams, perhaps wearing a sweater at a coffee shop somewhere and listening to Lana Del Rey listlessly staring out a window, watching college football with family and friends, and baking something pumpkin-y or nutmeg-y. What are your “original” fall plans? What’s your “original” mood as of late?