Corn dogs and Carousels: Thursday’s Children

Welcome to the Thursday’s Children Blog Hop, where writers come together to share whatever inspires them throughout their writing journey. I’d like to thank our lovely hosts, Rhiann and Kristina, for hosting this and inviting me to participate. Thank you! Make sure to check out the other bloggers via this Link List: We’d love for you to join us!

If there was ever a time in my childhood when I brushed against the margins of another realm, it was at a carnival. To this day, I’m filled with a strange sense of excitement and fear when I go to one. Growing up, we went to the Mid-South Fair held in Memphis every year. It was always in Autumn, the season that, for me, heralds witches and ghosts and haunted tales.

Everything is intensified at a carnival; the sounds, the smells, the lights. I can’t catch a whiff of a corn dog without the essence of a carnival surrounding me. The same happens when I see a carousel. And the sight of those dark alleyways behind the game booths and vendors sends a creepy tingling up my spine, as if some supernatural creature is lurking there, watching, just waiting for a human to stray off the brightly lit path. Of course, this feeling may be due in part to Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, but then again…

I remember the first time I saw a man on stilts, wearing a long coat and striped pants and juggling. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. And the way he moved. It was both eerie and fascinating. If you look up the term moko jumbie, you’ll find it has African origins, and that these stilt-dancers perform various spiritual related functions, like representing the powers of the gods, or invoking spirits or demons.

Carnivals throughout history have been the playground for the exotic and the unexplained, where fortunes were told and illusions were cast, and where one could glimpse, briefly, the arcane and peculiar. It was a place where the mingling of light and dark blurred into something wholly its own. And even now, with their thrill rides and concerts and rigged tests of skill, the magic is still invoked, and they still inspire me. How about you?

Montmartre Carousel, Paris, France


16 Responses to “Corn dogs and Carousels: Thursday’s Children

  • Oh yes, indeed! As you and I have discussed before, I am inspired by carnivals, carnevales, freak shows, all that wonderful weirdness with seedy undertones. Delish.

    • I remember!! We need to visit one together. I wonder if they have any good ones in NC? *runs to look it up*

  • Carnivals are rich settings – so many possibilities, above and below, inside and out. Great post.

  • Oh the playground of the imagination… yes I loved those dark alleys with the ropes and cables and some freaky guy with too much stubble and hands caked with old grease growling his disapproval…

    Totally get it!

    • I can totally see you running with that in some future WIP!!

  • Oooh, that description “those dark alleyways behind the game booths and vendors” just sent a chill down MY spine. Very evocative. Cool!

    • Oh, goody!! Thank you 😉 And I LOVED the drums on your post.

  • Great post! Carousels have always kind of creeped me out to be honest. There’s something about the dead painted eyes of the horses that always gives me the willies!

    • Yes, they have that mix of terrible beauty that I love. Thanks!

  • I like carnivals, but I’m constantly on the lookout for serial killer clowns. No really. Even an elephant ear or funnel cake (which I’m now craving like mad) doesn’t keep me from looking over my shoulder constantly. I know…I have issues…

    • Lol! We’ll just blame Stephen King for that…

  • Carnivals and carousels are such great settings! I hope one day I’ll write a novel with this kind of background. Great post, Kate! 🙂

  • Definitely! And I do get the creep factor as well! Not necessarily from Something Wicked This Way Comes, but from a Goosebumps book that I read as a kid.

    There’s something magical about a world where the freaks rule and the normal rules of life don’t apply.

    The creepiest carnival tent for me: the mirror maze!

    • Some of those Goosebumps books creep me out as an adult!! And yes, the mirror-maze. Love it 🙂