Ever put a book down in the middle of reading it – for good?
If so, did you ever look back with a pang of guilt?
Or was it a case of: close up, slow-mo lighting a match, shake, drops to ground; close-up on flame, dolly follows line of petrol to book; cut to wide, long-shot, see thunderous explosion, boom!; zoom out at high-angle shot, see you in a slow-mo swagger, ash stains on your flannelette shirt, and remnants from your nuclear powered, good-for-nothing (hopefully only a) paperback, sprinkle down on hundreds of smiling faces in ash laden wisps of paper bearing words from the book which ironically paraphrase it as ‘vampires aren’t real and either are you if you read this’; end wide angle shot of beautiful sunsets of salmon-pink sky, so delicate you could cut it in to sushi and eat it?
(Sorry, I couldn’t read Twilight. I couldn’t even read the satirical version. There was so much huffing and puffing I had to go to the doctor and explain that I was short of breath and had chronic fatigue. He prescribed me with a stimulant called: Life. It is ironic how much Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey and all those novels in the ‘submissive’ category, reflect (or appeal to) the laziness in people’s mentality. Whoah! What a claim! But seriously, listen up: why are people so desperate to hand over the reigns of their life? Why do people want someone else to be in control to the point where they suffer? It is very worrying when a young person thinks: ‘well, I had big hopes for the future, I was going to be a ballet dancer, but then I got bitten by a vampire and forced in to sexual slavery but it isn’t as bad as you think, I mean we have two kids together and yeah life didn’t quite work out how I wanted it but its okay I can be happy with how its worked out’. This is not healthy. What about standing up for yourself? It makes me think that George Orwell has come back as a ghost writer, written Twilight, tricked you in to a Big Brother-esque literary phenomonon to test your knowledge from ‘1984’ but unfortunately no one has realised! What about Jack Black’s School of Rock ‘stickittothamanitus’?!)
I came across a blog post by Author Jodi Hedland, (whose books, I’m sorry to say, I have not yet come across in my reading travels), titled ‘The top 7 reasons why I stop reading a novel‘. I like this post because it answers the question: ‘what do you want to read?’, rather than simply listing dot points of tips for writers.
I am usually so much my own salmon-sky eating action hero, that I generally don’t feel that pang of guilt if I stop reading a book. I rarely do this anyway. However, just last night I decided to put down ‘The Turn of the Screw’ for the last time. I didn’t look back before I leapt towards my book case and scaled the the shelves like a mad rock climber on a mountain; then I clasped Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower‘ in my hands, and hung on for dear life. And oh! how I have tried to hang on for this long; finally, after what has been a good couple of months I couldn’t hang on anymore. I let myself fall from the side of the bookshelf, on to my bed and in to King’s imagination.
As I fell in to the first of The Dark Tower series, a crow appeared, sitting on my shoulder and began pecking tufts of wool from my jumper and spitting them to the floor, strategically building what looked like a really comfortable nest; but, one that is too small for me to fit in. One that cradles a screw so carefully within the remnants of my own wooly jumper. One that now has a disco light. And party pies – gluten free. David Grohl is there. Jack Black visits often. So does Jack White.
Even now as I’m sitting here writing this, the crow is busy nailing together a sign, screwing it to a stake and pricking it to the ground out front. They’ve all autographed it. ‘Too bad, so sad’, it reads.
Is it a mirage? A trap? Or is this legit? What is the word, little bird?
So obviously by now, I’m starved of thirst, I’m lost, I’m seeing things in this delerium. How can literature cause so much agony and confusion? Help me get back to gangster-safe grounds; I fear I may become a victim of my own imagination.
What do you think? Do I give ‘The Turn of the Screw’ another turn? Or do I continue the climb up the ‘The Dark Tower’?