1. October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.
2. If you are a woman, if you’re a person of colour, if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, if you are a person of size, if you are a person od intelligence, if you are a person of integrity, then you are considered a minority in this world.
And it’s going to be really hard to find messages of self-love and support anywhere. Especially women’s and gay men’s culture. It’s all about how you have to look a certain way or else you’re worthless. You know when you look in the mirror and you think ‘oh, I’m so fat, I’m so old, I’m so ugly’, don’t you know, that’s not your authentic self? But that is billions upon billions of dollars of advertising, magazines, movies, billboards, all geared to make you feel shitty about yourself so that you will take your hard earned money and spend it at the mall on some turn-around creme that doesn’t turn around shit.
When you don’t have self-esteem you will hesitate before you do anything in your life. You will hesitate to go for the job you really wanna go for, you will hesitate to ask for a raise, you will hesitate to call yourself an American, you will hesitate to report a rape, you will hesitate to defend yourself when you are discriminated against because of your race, your sexuality, your size, your gender. You will hesitate to vote, you will hesitate to dream. For us to have self-esteem is truly an act of revolution and our revolution is long overdue.
3. I know that I have died before—once in November.
4. But there is always a November space after the leaves have fallen when she felt it was almost indecent to intrude on the woods…for their glory terrestrial had departed and their glory celestial of spirit and purity and whiteness had not yet come upon them.
5. The last dying days of summer, fall coming on fast. A cold night, the first of the season, a change from the usual bland Maryland climate. Cold, thought the boy; his mind felt numb. The trees he could see through his bedroom window were tall charcoal sticks, shivering, afraid of the wind or only trying to stand against it. Every tree was alone out there. The animals were alone, each in its hole, in its thin fur, and anything that got hit on the road tonight would die alone. Before morning, he thought, its blood would freeze in the cracks of the asphalt.
6. The house was very quiet, and the fog—we are in November now—pressed against the windows like an excluded ghost.
7. Every November of my boyhood, we put on red poppies and attended highly patriotic services in remembrance of those who had ‘given’ their lives. But on what assurance did we know that these gifts had really been made? Only the survivors—the living—could attest to it. In order to know that a person had truly laid down his life for his friends, or comrades, one would have to hear it from his own lips, or at least have heard it promised in advance. And that presented another difficulty. Many brave and now dead soldiers had nonetheless been conscripts. The known martyrs—those who actually, voluntarily sought death and rejoiced in the fact—had been the kamikaze pilots, immolating themselves to propitiate a ‘divine’ emperor who looked (as Orwell once phrased it) like a monkey on a stick. Their Christian predecessors had endured torture and death (as well as inflicted it) in order to set up a theocracy. Their modern equivalents would be the suicide murderers, who mostly have the same aim in mind. About people who set out to lose their lives, then, there seems to hang an air of fanaticism: a gigantic sense of self-importance unattractively fused with a masochistic tendency to self-abnegation. Not wholesome.
The better and more realistic test would therefore seem to be: In what cause, or on what principle, would you risk your life?
8. Welcome sweet November, the season of senses and my favorite month of all.
9. The widower reviewed his past in a sunless light which was intensified by the greyness of the November twilight, whilst the bells subtly impregnated the surrounding atmosphere with the melody of sounds that faded like the ashes of dead years.
10. The river this November afternoon
Rests in an equipoise of sun and cloud:
A glooming light, a gleaming darkness shroud
Its passage. All seems tranquil, all in tune.
11. November at its best – with a sort of delightful menace in the air.
12. Autumn! The greatest show of all times!
13. I touched her comb and took it out; her hair came flooding down like a wave, and her long black tresses quivered as they fell to her hips. I immediately ran my hand over it, and in it, and beneath it; I plunged my arm into it, and bathed my face in it, filled with sadness. Sometimes I would enjoy separating it into two, from behind, and then bringing it over her shoulder so as to hide her breasts; then I would bring all her hair together in a mesh, and pull it so that her head came back and her neck was thrown forward; she let me do what I wanted, like a dead woman.
14. And we will serenade and make love to the passion of november!
15. I held him and he held me, and we were still holding each other when he spotted a skein of geese flying overhead. “Look!” he said. I did not release my hold.
“November,” I said.
“Yes. Not winter, not fall. I’ve always liked November in Corot country.
16. How I wish to fly with the geese away from dreary November days, the “freeze-up,” and cruel winter. Away from loneliness, isolation, and anxiety bred by blizzards. Most every local person I’ve talked to grudgingly admits to an autumn apprehension. It is part and parcel of an Adirondacker’s psychological makeup. The geese contaminate us with this strange depression on their southbound flight and cure us with their northbound. In between, we try to tolerate winter, each in his or her own way.
17. It was a cold November day and she had dressed herself up in layers of cardigans and covered the whole lot with her old tweed coat, the one she might have used for feeding the chickens in.
18. There you go; seems to me you’re right!
19. Sylvia Plath and I met a long time ago. A really long time ago. Was it a summer day? No! It was a wintry November morning!
20. Eating a meal in Japan is said to be a communion with nature. This particularly holds true for both tea and restaurant kaiseki, where foods at their peak of freshness reflect the seasonal spirit of that month. The seasonal spirit for November, for example, is “Beginning Anew,” because according to the old Japanese lunar calendar, November marks the start of the new tea year. The spring tea leaves that had been placed in sealed jars to mature are ready to grind into tea. The foods used for a tea kaiseki should carry out this seasonal theme and be available locally, not flown in from some exotic locale.
For December, the spirit is “Freshness and Cold.” Thus, the colors of the guests’ kimonos should be dark and subdued for winter, while the incense that permeates the tearoom after the meal should be rich and spicy. The scroll David chose to hang in the alcove during the tea kaiseki no doubt depicted winter, through either words or an ink drawing. As for the flowers that would replace the scroll for the tea ceremony, David likely would incorporate a branch of pine to create a subtle link with the pine needle-shaped piece of yuzu zest we had placed in the climactic dish. Both hinted at the winter season and coming of New Year’s, one of David’s underlying themes for the tea kaiseki. Some of the guests might never make the pine needle connection, but it was there to delight those who did.
21. Next morning I had to get outside, and so began a period of long walks in the park. Early November continued bright, with the last sun of the year shining low and coppery over the woods. Striding through heaps of rusty autumn leaves, I ached to see beauty dying all around me. I felt completely alone in that rambling wilderness, save for the crows cawing in their rookeries and the wrens bobbing from hedge to hedge. I began to make studies in my book of the delicate lines of drying grasses and frilled seed pods. I looked for some lesson on how best to live from Nature, that every year died and was renewed, but none appeared.
22. Will you forgive me these November days?
23. November–with uncanny witchery in its changed trees. With murky red sunsets flaming in smoky crimson behind the westering hills. With dear days when the austere woods were beautiful and gracious in a dignified serenity of folded hands and closed eyes–days full of a fine, pale sunshine that sifted through the late, leafless gold of the juniper-trees and glimmered among the grey beeches, lighting up evergreen banks of moss and washing the colonnades of the pines. Days with a high-sprung sky of flawless turquoise. Days when an exquisite melancholy seemed to hang over the landscape and dream about the lake. But days, too, of the wild blackness of great autumn storms, followed by dank, wet, streaming nights when there was witch-laughter in the pines and fitful moans among the mainland trees. What cared they? Old Tom had built his roof well, and his chimney drew.
24. November always seemed to me the Norway of the year.
25. In November, the trees are standing all sticks and bones. Without their leaves, how lovely they are, spreading their arms like dancers. They know it is time to be still.
26. November is usually such a disagreeable month…as if the year had suddenly found out that she was growing old and could do nothing but weep and fret over it. This year is growing old gracefully…just like a stately old lady who knows she can be charming even with gray hair and wrinkles. We’ve had lovely days and delicious twilights.
27. In November, the smell of food is different. It is an orange smell. A squash and pumpkin smell. It tastes like cinnamon and can fill up a house in the morning, can pull everyone from bed in a fog. Food is better in November than any other time of the year.
28. In November, the earth is growing quiet. It is making its bed, a winter bed for flowers and small creatures. The bed is white and silent, and much life can hide beneath its blankets.
29. Wind warns November’s done with. The blown leaves make bat-shapes, Web-winged and furious.
30. In November, people are good to each other. They carry pies to each other’s homes and talk by crackling woodstoves, sipping mellow cider. They travel very far on a special November day just to share a meal with one another and to give thanks for their many blessings – for the food on their tables and the babies in their arms.
31. The November evening had a bite; it nibbled not-quite-gently at her cheeks and ears. In Virginia the late autumn was a lover, still, but a dangerous one.
32. There is October in every November and there is November in every December! All seasons melted in each other’s life!
33. Happiness isn’t something you experience; it’s something you remember.
34. In November, some birds move away and some birds stay. The air is full of good-byes and well-wishes. The birds who are leaving look very serious. No silly spring chirping now. They have long journeys and must watch where they are going. The staying birds are serious, too, for cold times lie ahead. Hard times. All berries will be treasures.
35. It is also November. The noons are more laconic and the sunsets sterner, and Gibraltar lights make the village foreign. November always seemed to me the Norway of the year. —— is still with the sister who put her child in an ice nest last Monday forenoon. The redoubtable God! I notice where Death has been introduced, he frequently calls, making it desirable to forestall his advances.
36. November; Crows are approaching – Wounded leaves fall to the ground.
37. In the sea, Corr’s clumsiness will disappear, his weight cradled by the saltwater. I don’t want to say good-bye. I blink to clear my vision and reach up. I pull off his halter. The ocean is his love and now, finally, he’ll have it. I back out of the surf. There’s a thin, long wail. Corr takes a labored step away from the November sea. And another. He is slow, and the sea sings to us both, but he returns to me.
38. Don’t wait until the fourth Thursday in November, to sit with family and friends to give thanks.
Make every day a day of Thanksgiving!
39. Whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul, I shall recall the memory of warm, sunny, late summer afternoons like this one, and be comforted greatly.
40. Y cuando nos separamos, es otoño en mi corazón.
41. It was getting dark by the time I went out, and nobody who knows the country will need to be told how black is the darkness of a November night under high laurel bushes and yew-trees. I walked into the heart of the shrubberies two or three times, not seeing a step before me, till I came out upon the broader carriage-road, where the trees opened a little, and there was a faint grey glimmer of sky visible, under which the great limes and elms stood darkling like ghosts; but it grew black again as I approached the corner where the ruins lay. (“The Open Door”)
42. November came roaring in with gusty winds and more wet weather. Mandy’s depression would not go away. Her garden seemed sad, too. It was virtually empty now, and the few brave flowers that remained there were flattened by rain, their yellows stalks sprawling in all directions. Most of the trees were bare, and the woods had a wet carpet of leaves.
43. Jam on November took away the worries, It was like tasting summer
44. It was grey windless weather, and the bell of the little old church that nestled in the hollow of the Sussex down sounded near and domestic. We were a straggling procession in the mild damp air – which, as always at that season, gave one the feeling that after the trees were bare there was more of it, a larger sky.
45. My biggest hope for this work is that it will help others to remember the sacrifices made for our freedom, and even more so to remember that the men, women, and children all involved in and affected by this era were not just statistics: they were people just like we are, with the same hopes, dreams, and very imminent fears.
46. For London, Blampied claimed, was of all cities in the world the most autumnal —its mellow brickwork harmonizing with fallen leaves and October sunsets, just as the etched grays of November composed themselves with the light and shade of Portland stone. There was a charm, a deathless charm, about a city whose inhabitants went about muttering, “The nights are drawing in,” as if it were a spell to invoke the vast, sprawling creature-comfort of winter.
47. purple threaded evening. a torn goddess laying on the roof. milk sky. lavender hued moan against hot asphalt. the thickness of evening presses into your throat. polaroids taped to the ceiling. ivy pouring out of the cracks in the wall. i found my courage buried beneath molding books and forgot to lock the door behind me. the old house never forgets. opened my mouth and a dandelion fell out. reached behind my wisdom teeth and found sopping wet seeds. pulled all of my teeth out just to say i could. he drowned himself in a pill bottle and the orange really brought out his demise. lay me down on a bed of ground spices. there’s a song there, i know it. amethyst geode eyes. cracked open. no one saw it coming.
october never loved you.
the moon still doesn’t understand that.
48. It’s a queer sensation, this secret belief that one stands on the brink of the world’s greatest catastrophe. For it means the fall of Western Europe, as it fell in the fourth century. It recurs to me every November, and culminates every December. I have to get over it as I can, and hide, for fear of being sent to an asylum.
49. First, if you participate in Movember, fuck you. Second, if you want to raise money for prostate cancer (a noble cause), do it the old-fashioned way, by either begging for it or exerting yourself physically for donations. Sitting on your ass and letting nature take its course above your upper lip is not the same thing as running a 10K at a local high school or breaking out the set of power tools your dad gave you as a housewarming present collecting dust in your garage and using them to go out and build a habitat for humanity.
Maybe I can raise money for rectal cancer by getting people to pledge a dollar every time I take a shit.
And third no one wants to see that horrific seventies pornstache growing like a caterpillar with cerebral palsy zigzagging across your face; you look like you’re about to go door to door informing people that you’re a registered sex offender who’s just moved in next door and would their kids like to come out and was your windowless van for a dollar?
Fuck Movember. And November.
50. My biggest hope for this work is that it will help others to remember the sacrifices made for our freedom, and even more so to remember that the men, women, and children all involved in and affected by this era were not just statistics: they were people just like we are, with the same hopes, dreams, and very imminent fears.