This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Wednesday, October 20, 1993

October 20, 1993 - gruesome stories

Please understand that my daughter Maddy, now 6 years old, is a sweet, loving little girl.

I can't remember which book it was - some Grimm Brothers tale, I think. I do remember that the end was a little gory, surprisingly so. But once you start reading a story like this, there's no graceful way to get out of it, so I barreled ahead. If she's upset, I thought, then we'll talk about it. It's a technique that works for us.

Finally, I closed the book, and looked at Maddy carefully. "What did you think of this story?" I asked her. She grinned. "Gruesome," she said. "But good."

And speaking of sometimes spooky stories with occasionally horrible endings, Douglas County is now engaged in the campaigning that precedes a general election. For the first time, that election includes the School Board. In my opinion, it's been fascinating: there are some real alternatives, real choices for the citizenry, and I've heard some thought-provoking arguments on all sides. I've also heard some utterly fanciful tales that were nonetheless entertaining. But one of these days -- November 2, in fact -- the people will declare an end to the campaign storytelling.

For those of you seeking an earlier end: early voting, courtesy of the Douglas County Clerk and Recorder's Office, will be available at the meeting room of the Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock. The dates: from Tuesday, October 12, through Friday, October 29. The hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The School District predicts that as many as 20,000 people will be voting in this election. If you've made up your mind on the issues and candidates, and want to avoid the crowds at your local precinct, why wait?

In a way, admittedly skewed, political campaigning is a Halloween program for adults -- a celebration of masks, costumes, and various tricks 'n' treats. But as one of the only public institutions with something for people of all ages, the library district feels an obligation to offer a program for children, too.

Our gruesome -- but good -- Halloween storytelling sessions are entitled, "Stories for the Fainthearted," and "Stories for the Stouthearted." The first session will be held at the Parker Library on October 27. The second will be held at the Philip S. Miller Library on October 28. At both places, the spooky stories will begin at 7 p.m. -- that's for the "Stories for the Fainthearted." Younger children are welcome; the stories are appropriate for children as young as 3.

At 7:30, both locations, the Stories for the Stouthearted" will begin. These are for kids ages 5 and up. It happens that the district has two very talented storytellers. Priscilla Queen of Parker will be featured, as well as Carol Foreman, of Castle Rock. At our other branches, there will be other activities. The Oakes Mill Library, in addition to its Spooky Share the night of October 28, will feature its traditional pumpkin decorating contest, and sponsor a UNICEF program on Halloween safety at 3 p.m., Saturday, October 30. At Highlands Ranch, be sure to check out the staff costumes on Halloween; they're a hoot.

Sometimes, at least around Halloween, I think the real appeal of scary stories is purely seasonal: the shiver on the inside echoes the shiver on the outside. That delicious chill just makes it all the more satisfying to reach for our blankets and settle in for a nice long snooze.

Of course, I don't mean politically. I think.

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