Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Curse Of The Prolific Writer

Did you know that Stephen King has published over fifty books? Fifty full length novels or stories. And FIFTEEN of those have been turned into movies.

I had never read and of his works until last year when my best friend finally talked me into reading the Dark Tower series.

“It’s not really Stephen King-y,” she said. “It’s not really that scary (this was a lie) and it’s really well written.”

So I picked up the Gunslinger from the library and from the first brilliant line, I was hooked.

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

This has to be one of the best first lines of all time. Who is the man in black? Who is the gunslinger? Is he chasing the man in black or just following his trail? And WHAT are they doing in the desert?

Come to that, what desert are they in?

That simple, twelve word sentence had me asking five separate questions, all of which desperately needed answering. One short month later, I was finished with the seventh book.

(Note: At the time I didn’t know about The Wind Through The Keyhole and as of yet, I still haven’t read it. It is on order though and should be here in a few days!)

I loved the series. Roland was such an amazing character and I fell in love with he and his little family of misfits. But after I finished the series, I still didn’t feel any need to seek out King’s other works.

Why not?

As you can see from my friend’s “not Stephen King-y” comment, we had some biases. And to be honest, these biases came from a pretty pretentious place. I was a creative writing major at the time and spending most of my time writing or reading about writing. I had developed the idea that in order for a book to be any good, it had to have taken years and a part of the writer’s soul in its creation.

So when I looked at the Stephen King shelf in the bookstore and saw his 50+ books, what did I see? A man worse than Voldemort who had split his soul into 50 pieces. I thought that anything he wrote must be cheap and poorly written because he had obviously whipped each book out in an afternoon.

And my love for the Dark Tower series did nothing to change that perception because it took King over twenty years to write those seven wonderful volumes. I assumed that all of his care and talent went into those works and the rest was just garbage.

Well, Mister King, I am sorry. I am so, so sorry. I am sorry that I skimmed over your section in the bookstore for twenty seven years. I am sorry that I never watched any of your movies besides The Shining. I am sorry for you but most of all I am sorry for myself. Because of my pretentious preconceived ideas, I robbed myself of years of wonderful reading.

You see, I just moved. And in the move i had to get rid of most of my books. So when I got to my new home in Arizona I happily accepted a couple boxes of books from my boyfriend’s parents. The told me to keep what I wanted and donate the rest.

Many of them were not my taste but I put them on my empty shelves as placeholders until I could get some that I really wanted (I just ordered about 35 books online, they should be here any day! I’ll keep you posted.). Among them were two Stephen King books, The Shining and The Running Man.

I should have known what was going to happen, but I didn’t see it coming. One day, I got bored. I sat and I stared at the books on my shelf waiting to feel the heart-to-book lightening bolt that I let guide all of my reading decisions. My eyes skimmed over the Shining and…I felt something. I gave it a second look. And there it was.

The lightening bolt was faint, but it was there. I pulled the dog-eared paperback off the shelf, plopped down on the couch and read the whole thing. The next day I read The Running Man. And now, here I am. A full blown Stephen King addict. Better late than never, right?

Photo on 2013-05-31 at 12.16

The Unchosen: The Doctor’s Left Behind Companions

You hear a grinding of gears, a far off moan of something that might be bagpipes or out of the corner of your eyes, you catch a glimpse of a gangly man in a blue suit, running as though the fate of the Universe depended on it.

It’s the Doctor. And this time, he’s come for you.

Impress him with your wit, Hand him his screwdriver at a key moment and you’ll be off, whirling through time and space in an impossible blue box.

Fail him and you’ll be left behind, lonely and ashamed. The worst bits of humanity encapsulated in flesh.

But what about those who do everything right? Those beautiful humans who are so brave and so true that every viewer feels a measure of guilt as they run through their fleeting lives with passion and grace; aiding the Doctor in any way they can while we sit on our couches dreaming and eating ice cream.

The first of these is Renette. Madame Pompadour. The beautiful French girl in the fireplace. Although already accompanied by Mickey and Rose it is obvious that the Doctor wants to swoop up little Renette (and then bigger, gorgeous Renette) and show her the stars. And he tells her as much at their last meeting; after she has braved years of clockwork men plotting her death (not to mention the every day perils of the French court). The Doctor tell Renette de Poisson to pack her bags and pick a star. But then, like he does, the Doctor gets the timing wrong and fails to return until after her death.

Renette de Poisson was brave, and quick-witted, the epitome of companion material. Yet she was left on Earth to live out her life as a mortal, dying of a mortal disease without ever seeing the stars.

The second of those unjustly left behind was Sally Sparrow. If anyone deserved to be whisked off to the stars and beyond it was Sally. In the span of twenty four hours she lost her best friend and a very intriguing new man to the weeping angels and instead of crying, giving up or becoming angry, she soldiered on. Sally Sparrow unlocked a forty year old message from the doctor, destroyed the weeping angels (well, some of them) and restored the TARDIS and its owner to the present time stream.

And what does she get? A ‘thank you very much.’ An ‘aren’t you grand.’  And she is left behind.

Sally Sparrow is arguably one of the most interesting (and definitely most beautiful, although I’m glad that this doesn’t seem to matter too much. They aren’t Bond girls, thank Jeebus) of all the women who aid the Doctor in his quest to alleviate guilt and boredom. Especially contrasted to Martha, the companion du jour.

Martha may be brilliant and gorgeous but my GOD is she boring. I can’t be the only one who was desperately sick of her puppy dog worship of the Doctor by her third episode.

(Side note. I’m re-watching Doctor Who as I write this; season three, episode twelve to be exact. I was thoroughly engrossed in writing when I realized that the Doctor was shouting, ‘We’re on a planet at the end of the universe and you’re busy blogging?!’ Well yes, yes I am. And since no one in the show is currently blogging, am I wrong in thinking that he’s talking to me? Excuse me while I go outside and listen for the wailing of an interstellar parking brake.)

Well, I’m still here (sadly) and I’m not the only one.

The final unchosen companion may not be an obvious choice.

Wilfred Mott is Donna Noble’s grandfather. The innocuous, red capped stargazer is present in the Doctor Who plot line for almost as long as Donna herself and he does much to endear the audience to the brash Ms. Noble. He stares at the stars every night. He believes in magic, in space and in the impossible. Every single day of his life.

Wilfred Mott is a man after my own heart.

We stare at the stars day after day and refuse to give up hope even when the years pass without so much as a common supernova. Wilfred Mott and I have looked into the void and we hope beyond hope that something brilliant is looking back.

Yet we’re the ones left behind.

The Doctor chooses his companions seemingly willy nilly. When he finds himself alone he plucks an intelligent mind from the human populace, endears himself to them and proceeds to change (ruin?) their lives.  He has no more control over who he takes with him than we have over which continent we’re born on.

The Doctor is flying through time, clinging to humans like life rafts. And I’m not sure that he always grabs the right one.

Where The Hell Have I Been?!

Friends, life has been crazy the past few weeks. We are in the process of moving our entire lives from Oregon to Arizona and to be honest, keeping up with this blog has been difficult. But never fear, I will be back and in the meantime I’ve been blogging about our journey on my travel blog, The Girl Who Moved. Feel free to check it out!

While I Wait

Where do we go to find peace when those we love continue to crumble and fall despite our best efforts or intentions? How to find solace when past decisions stand unyielding with fresh honed blades before every doorway but the ones we cannot imagine taking? How can a person be expected to say goodbye to friends that never became as close as I should have let them?

Wine swallows fast and only polishes pain.

I try to get lost in books but find myself reading Night again and again.

I never wanted to stay here but now that the end is coming I cannot stand the thought. The journey won’t kill me but the same might not be true for him.

And the hardest part is proving to not be saying goodbye. If the end would come, at least it would be over.

Hope’s blade is proving to be the sharpest and shallow cuts inflicted slowly always cause the most pain.

Missteps

There is an island that stays strung with Christmas lights

until March or June

where the people wish you a “Happy New Year”

all year round.

You can hitchhike from one end

of the island to the other

by pointing in the direction that you want to go

but only middle aged American expats will pick you up.

 

On the resorts, the palm trees have been neutered

but on the wild beaches

if you can heft a rock high enough

and hard enough

you can knock down a coconut

and spend half an hour tearing hair

from the clinging surface of the nut

for a few gritty mouthfuls

of sweet cloudy water.