Well not every one of my posts these days will be experimental stuff. Tonight’s is an update on what I’ve been doing in the reading and writing arena.
Writing, I’m pleased to say, has been going well. Since returning from vacation I’ve averaged three pages a day on Razored Land: The Blackest of Hates. I just hit fifty pages tonight.
Reading? I finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which was very good, and almost immediately started book five, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I’m enjoying it, but not liking Harry as much in this one. He seems to have turned into a true teenager. I suppose that’s the point.
I watched two movies this weekend, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and The Spirit. The Day the Earth Stood Still wasn’t bad. There were some pretty bad plot holes, especially early in the film, and I wanted to personally strangle the kid character, but it generally held my interest and Lana felt much the same way. The Spirit, on the other hand, was just profoundly silly. It’s got to be one of the worst movies I’ve seen in the last 10 years, and that’s saying something. Lana only lasted about 20 minutes but I stuck it out. Lord knows why. Perhaps it’s because I really liked Sin City and expected this to be more of the same. I was wrong.
Finally, let me review Mysteries of Von Domarus, a chapbook of gothic tales by Gary William Crawford, which I also just finished reading. Crawford is well known as both an author and editor in the small press. He’s best known for his poetry, but is also a student of gothic literature and the five short tales in this collection evoke the gothic sensibility to the utmost. The best story is the title piece, “Mysteries of Von Domarus.” There are elements of poetry and even the nonfiction essay woven throughout this “story,” but it works on a gut wrenching level. It has been a long time since I’ve been so emotionally touched by a tale. The second best story is the last one in the collection, “The Change in Him.” A subtle ending, but one that’ll stay with me for a long time.
Throughout the collection one feels the stories working on different levels, and the surface level is the least important. It’s the same kind of feeling that comes through in Crawford’s poetry. Especially with “The Change in Him,” I felt I was being told something profoundly important, but every time I tried to focus on just what that importance was my understanding morphed into something else. I only know I won’t ever look at a stranger quite the same way again.
Crawford’s stories are not in any way graphic horror. You won’t find blood or gore here. You will find a sense of disassociation, a sense of loss, and a sense that there truly are mysteries in the world. It definitely “shook up” my perceptions.