As all twenty of you who read this blog know, I tried to break myself about two weeks ago. And by trying, I mean I succeeded.
Took a nasty tumble in the parking lot of the day job on the morning of September 30th, and in the process managed to pull every muscle in my right arm as well as fracture my right elbow. Worker’s Comp is being a jerk about the whole thing, too. By the time they get around to deciding whether I have a valid claim or not, My elbow won’t be broken anymore. I suppose that’s part of the plan. The whole system is horribly overshadowed by bureaucracy if you ask me… but that’s another rant for another time.
It’s really sort of a cruel joke to take a writer’s arm out of commission.
That having been said, this is my official re-entry into the world. It’s slow, but it’s here. I’m doing my best to be human again and out among the digital socialites. I’ve been writing, but my progress is sad. Armageddon Rising is now over 33,000 words and still going strong, but I’ve reached that point where my brain looks at it and goes “La La La I’m Not Listening!!!”, which means I’m muddling through. Plus my alter ego, Siobhan, is trying to claw her way out and make me write a romance novel involving a tiger shifter, a demon, and a girl trapped in the middle as bait, so there’s that too.
While I’ve been incapacitated, I’ve been reading.
NEWS FLASH: I’M GOING TO SPOIL A BOOK NOW!
And that book happens to be Joe Hill’s “Heart Shaped Box”.
I just finished my second read, and it was even more phenomenal this time than it was last time. I love going back and rereading books I’ve already read because I’m able to focus on other aspects of the book than the story itself. I can study characters and settings, and in this case even word choice. I’m reading, but I’m also researching at the same time. After all, isn’t that how we learn language? By studying what’s put before us?
But I digress. Judas Coyne is a case study in resilience. He’s older and kind of an asshole – okay, a lot of an asshole – but I like him despite his near obsessive-compulsive need to hurt the ones he loves. While rereading the book, I started comparing myself to him, comparing my troubles to the things that happened to him and it made me realize that I’m more of a marshmallow than I thought. This guy… okay, without giving too much away, imagine giving a rock star the world, then suddenly snatching everything out from under him and saying “Now, Survive.” That’s pretty much what’s going on here. And he does. Amazingly enough, he keeps going even when he wants to give up.
The book struck a chord with me originally because I’m exactly the type of person that would absolutely go out and buy a dead man’s suit. I like oddities. And yes, Jude is a jerk, but I think he’s more an unintentional jerk. I like him. We’re going to blame his beard for my near obsessive love of him. Or it could be that he’s a rock star. I like those too.
It’s the word choice that really grabs me though. I love the atmosphere of the book, the way the creeping nastiness lingers from page to page. It gets thicker and heavier with every new chapter, and the point when they get to Florida and all hell breaks loose… yeah. Even on the second round I found myself staying up late reading when I should have been in bed. I KNEW WHAT WAS COMING!!! Yet I still felt compelled to keep reading, to see what happened next. I found myself pulling for Bon and Angus even though I knew the words weren’t going to change, that the poor dogs weren’t going to live.
The most horrifically beautiful moment of this book is that second when Bon dies and the shadow dog goes after the cat. I’m not an overly emotional reader most of the time, but the second round of this actually made me cry.
The shadow Bon took a playful snap at the cat’s tail, then leaped after her. As Bon’s spirit dropped toward the floor, she passed through a beam of intense, early-morning sunshine and winked out of being.
I put my Nook down and sobbed like a little girl. I love these dogs, and having to lose them a second time made me irrationally angry. Silly, I know, because they’re fictional, but that’s just me being a neurotic flake. I got over it and kept reading. And on the second finish, I realized that I could not pick out a single weak point in the story. I couldn’t. As a writer, I look for those things, for the foibles and fails in other authors’ work so I can learn from them what not to do. There is nothing in this book that makes me not want to do it all over again. I’ll probably be reading it for a third time very soon.
Showing on my Nook screen now is George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones”. I figure I’ve put off reading it long enough and since he’s going to be the Guest of Honor at the next convention I’m scheduled to attend, I should probably do my homework. I’m about 20 pages in at this point, so I don’t have much to report other than I already want to beat up the noble for being an idiot. That’s not a bad thing though…I think I’m meant to not like him much right now. So far so good, and I’ll be back with more on it as I progress.
I’ve also been teaching myself the art of The Twitter. Still don’t get it, don’t understand it, and don’t particularly care… but I’m doing it. Hootsuite has become my best friend over the last week, and I’m on the hunt for hashtags that are going to help put me where I need to be. Got suggestions? Send them my way. I always need more help.
So yeah, that’s me. I’m going to stop talking now because I’m hungry and need to go in search of food.