Growing up, everyone I knew and loved lived in such close proximity. I knew that Baba and Dido’s families were in Ukraine, but my people were never far away. Now it’s so very different. The world is smaller in many ways, and our circles are larger to include beloved friends and family across the country and over the ocean.

12182601_10206251093530217_4899569065728051142_oI wish I could see them more often, but I am grateful for online glimpses and treasured times when we do reconnect. Ultimately my world is richer for those connections.

My friend Alison and I met in Germany 13 years ago when we were each pregnant with our first child, and she was family from the start. We’ve stayed in touch through ups and downs and moves back and forth across oceans. Our kids have grown up together, sharing the occasional holiday. Some of my favorite Thanksgivings have been spent with them.

Alison came for a too-short visit that was mostly coffee and chats squeezed in around kid schedules and teaching, but we did have one night where I was able to give her a taste of Chicago’s stand-up and burlesque, Gypsy jazz at the Green Mill, and some of the best Ethiopian food (mmmmm). And just like that, she’s back across the ocean and life goes one. The wheel turns.


Am thinking of you, so many people I love who are too far away and those who are gone from us too soon. I suppose it’s one of the gifts of October and Autumn and Halloween/Samhain–missing loved ones, sitting with nostalgia and longing as we prepare for the season to change.


Coffee break, writing date with friends at Kopi Cafe.

Summer is over. It flew quickly by, punctuated by treasured moments: midnight speakeasy reading at Readercon, adventures on New York rooftops, exploration of a haunted Chicago hotel, visitation with dead gangsters in Chicago cemeteries and jazz clubs, coffee chats on the patio, and conversations over wine in the warm summer evenings.

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The rest of the days were filled in with precious time spent with the kids: full moons rising over lake Michigan, painting in the garden, swimming in the afternoons, the consumption of many ice cream cones, and dancing barefoot in the backyard.

Photo on 2014-07-23 at 18.16 #4

Photo on 2014-07-18 at 12.57 #2

The time spent on the laptop was mostly spent writing–a few stories and poems, as well as fun forays into nonfiction:

“How a persecuted dance genius bound Ukraine to Philly” (My Arts story for the Philadelphia Weekly about Voloshky artistic director Taras Lewyckyj’s journey to preserve and recreate the magic of Ukrainian choreographer Anatolij Krivokhija’s 1977 Yatran performance.)

Erasure’s Angelic Ecstasy: The dance-pop icons celebrate a new 
album at the Borgata
,” (My interview with singer Andy Bell of Erasure for the Atlantic City Weekly.)

Now the leaves are ablaze in my favorite shades, and as always happens in the Fall, the stories still unwritten begin to clamor louder for my attention. Exciting projects are in the works, and I’m in that fun “researching/plotting stage” of the next novel (more on that soon).


Halloween is around the corner, and on its heels, my first World Fantasy Convention in Arlington, Virginia, where I will be reading on November 8th (details in my next blog post). I’m looking forward to seeing writer friends I haven’t seen since Midsummer, some of whom I haven’t seen since Spring.

That brings me quickly up to date, leaving out so much that I may yet post in snippets on Tumblr in the way of photos and captions. There’s a link to my Tumblr on my website, but I’ll also place it here: http://valya-dudycz-lupescu.tumblr.com/

In the meantime, may the rest of your October be filled with the best kinds of magic…



I love October—my favorite of all the months, and yet she is unpredictable, inconsistent, ornery.

Sometimes she arrives all at once—we wake up to trees of crimson and gold, the smell of burning wood and spiced drinks on the wind, tasty things stewing and baking. Overnight it’s October everywhere; we feel it in our bones. The dead come calling, and it’s Halloween for weeks. The nights are deliciously haunted, and we gather together for wine and whispers and witchy things that remind us of the magic of childhood autumns.

Sometimes October is slow to arrive, just hints of color here and there, the gradual bundling of layers—first a scarf, then a sweater, maybe mittens without fingers. Summer hangs on, and Halloween feels far away, and winter farther still. We look down at our bare feet crunching orange leaves in the grass, our legs in shorts, our hands in mittens. There’s a disconnect, a teasing, a hesitation—is October coming or isn’t she?  Sometimes we ignore her, lulled into a false sense of never-ending summer.  Sometimes we choose to look for October in unexpected places, we work a little harder, maybe find roads never before taken. 

Just over a week to go, and I’m still not sure about this year’s October. Perhaps our perception of October is as much influenced by what’s going on inside of us, as what is happening around us. Maybe that’s why she seems fickle? Maybe October reflects back to us who we are as we head into the cold darkness of winter?

Tell me about your October.

Photo by 8 Eyes Photography
Photo by 8 Eyes Photography