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text 2016-08-10 01:11
Stand by the King, Stand by Your Brother
The Shawshank Redemption - Stephen King
The Body - Robin A.H. Waterfield,Stephen King
The Shining - Stephen King

When I received the incredible opportunity to meet Stephen King, I pondered for days beforehand about what to tell him, what I wanted to share with this man who had shared so much with me through his words.

And then I knew.

But If I were to get the words out in the moment, it had to be a just-us.

 

My husband went first. Then I stepped forward and King's eyes smiled into mine and held them. I leaned forward, the distance balanced between no one can overhear/this is special and I'm a crazy stalker who is going to bite off your nose. His eyes told me he understood. And then I told him.

 

I told him that "The Body", the novella that became Stand by Me, helped me, with every reread, with my delayed and complicated grief from my little brother's death. In the obvious ways at first, but, finally, as I aged--

 

through Chris, as he cried about wanting to go somewhere where no one knew him and start over (unable to shoulder my identity as the Older Bereaved Sister, wanting to drop it)

 

and as Chris, in the quoted scene below, tells Gordie that he is stuck in his grief, stuck thinking the wrong brother died, stuck in his anger, and that he has some writing to do.

King had looked down while I was explaining, to carefully sign my first edition of The Shining. When I got to that last specific bit, he finished, dropped the pen, and met my eyes again. His eyes were damp.

 

"I am so very glad," he said, "and so, so very grateful you were able to tell me."

 

We looked silently at each other for another moment. He slid me my book, and said, "What was his name?"

 

"Eric."

 

He nodded as a man does when he mentally puts something in his pocket. "Eric."

 

--

 

The movie came out when I was in high school, still in the middle of it, still trying to figure out the answer to the question about how many siblings I had. The truth--one but he died? Way to bum everyone out, Morticia. None? Betrayal. Just being tasked with that (tasking myself with it) ramped up the grief-anger. Perfect timing. This movie owns a piece of my heart, and I don't want it back.

 

Gordie: Fuck writing, I don't want to be a writer. It's stupid. It's a stupid waste of time.
Chris: That's your dad talking.
Gordie: Bullshit.
Chris: Bull true. I know how your dad feels about you. He doesn't give a shit about you. Denny was the one he cared about and don't try to tell me different. You're just a kid, Gordie.
Gordie: Oh, gee! Thanks, Dad.
Chris: Wish the hell I was your dad. You wouldn't be goin' around talkin' about takin' these stupid shop courses if I was. It's like God gave you something, man, all those stories you can make up. And He said, "This is what we got for ya, kid. Try not to lose it." Kids lose everything unless there's someone there to look out for them. And if your parents are too fucked up to do it, then maybe I should.

 

--

 

Thank you, sweet, loving Naomi King, for sharing so much of your father with the rest of us weird motley fools and discontents. Please accept this story as a token of gratitude from one Constant Reader, who is a better and healthier person for it.

 

Impetus: http://wilwheaton.net/2011/03/though-i-hadnt-seen-him-in-over-twenty-years-i-knew-id-miss-him-forever/

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review 2016-05-28 15:10
Revenge, death, family and an endings of sorts
Running on Emptiness (Time, Blood and Karma Book 4) - John Dolan

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve read all the novels in the Time, Blood and Karma series by John Dolan and have enjoyed them enormously. I read many genres, but I am quite partial to mystery/thrillers. And these ones have a very special protagonist, David Braddock, and amateur detective (or rather a not professionally recognised and trained detective, but he is pretty good and gets paid for his efforts) and again a non-professional therapist, a British man but who lives in Thailand, an amateur philosopher who regularly visits an old Buddhist monk (his best friend), who has interesting an complex relationships with many women and a past full of ghosts.

Whilst the third book in the series, A Poison Tree explored and explained David’s back history and his life in the UK, Running on Emptiness continues with the adventures of Hungry Ghosts where we, the readers, were privy to some information that left us hanging and waiting for disaster to strike. We have a gangster determined to avenge his brother’s death (the only meaningful thing he has left to do in life), a dying woman who before ending her life in her own terms (remaining in charge of her meaning) reveals a dangerous secret, another woman who after losing her job realises she’s been living a lie and tries and find meaning by coming clean, an old man who, disappointed by his children, decides to revisit a shady past he thought he’d left behind to do the right thing. Each chapter is told from a different point of view, and that includes the characters whom we might think of as the good guys (but nobody is blameless, honest and truthful in this novel, at least none of the characters whose points of view we follow), but also the gangsters, corrupt policemen and killers. The action takes place in England (we start with a wedding and we end with a funeral) and Thailand, we have political unrest, and there is also a murder case to solve with magic trickery thrown in, where Braddock (and Dolan) follow on Agatha Christie’s footsteps and pull off a brilliant piece of sleight-of-hand engineering.

The story is told at a good pace, the writing is impeccable and lyrical at times (particularly on the parts from David Braddock’s point of view. He is witty and forever quotable), I must confess I cheered at a point towards the end (but I’ll keep my lips sealed as I don’t want to spoil it for anybody), and in the end, although there are some questions and unresolved issues, I felt we’d reached the end of an era. The complex and alternative life Braddock had built for himself, in an attempt at escaping reality, comes crushing down around him, taking no prisoners.  By the end, although Braddock might not know everything, he’s lost a lot and learned a fair deal about himself, about the people he cares about, about his friends, and about life itself.

I recommend this book to lovers of thrillers and mystery stories with great main characters, those who have a penchant for philosophy and reflections on the nature of life, particularly if you’re intrigued by Thailand, and in general those who love good and memorable writing. But, do read the whole series in the right order, because the sum of its parts is much greater than the individual novels. Congratulations to John Dolan on his epic series. I won’t forget Time, Blood and Karma any time soon. And I’ll be waiting eagerly for more of novels, in the same or other series.

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text 2016-05-06 19:57
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Well, damn. This is how you know a classic's a classic. Because that author can reach their hand through their words into the future and grab a truth that hasn't happened yet, and reach through with their other hand and grab you, and say "here, see, stop and digest this with your eyes, chew it with your soul."
 
Case in point: Doesn't this sound like Trump? Makes me as sorrowful for him as I am afraid.

 

If he needs a million acres to make him feel rich, seems to me he needs it 'cause he feels awful poor inside hisself, and if he's poor in hisself, there ain't no million acres gonna make him feel rich, an' maybe he's disappointed that nothin' he can do 'll make him feel rich.


― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

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review 2012-10-21 00:00
Running on Emptiness: The Pathology of Civilization - John Zerzan,Theresa Kintz "America's most famous anarchist."
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review 2012-06-25 00:00
Ocean of Emptiness - Serena Kay Ocean of Emptiness - Serena Kay As a debut indie author, Serena Kay is an author to watch out for. She knows how to write action, characters that are well-rounded, and an interesting setting. However, this book does not get five stars for the simple reason that even though I read it. It was forgettable after a time, and I felt like nothing resonated with me in the end. I could picture the story in my head, but it didn't have the depth that I normally like to see. It's an action book, but I hoped for more. My challenge for Ms. Kay is to write a story that will stay with her readers--long after they read it. I will say as an indie book, it's quite well edited. A few errors here and there, but that's to be expected when the author doesn't have access to editorial editors as well as line editors.
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