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Two Out The Three Rs, Reading and Writing

hwabuttonGreetings and Salutations Loyal readers of the blog,

If you stopped by yesterday you got to meet Faith Hunter.  She managed to reduce my friend Mischievous Raven to a blubbering mass of black feathers.  He was acting like a teenage girl at a boy band concert.  I’ve never seen him quite so overcome.  He kept calling out Jane , J-a-n-e, Jaaaaannnnnne.  I’m pretty sure he was confusing Ms. Hunter with her fictional character Jane Yellowrock.  Of course as he pointed out last week, fictional characters can take on a life all their own.  Which is the topic of my absolute favorite Stephen King novel The Dark Half.  Of course when I meet Mr. King I won’t become an incoherent stumbling fool.  Okay maybe I will.  All right, I’m sure I will. But I won’t start calling him Thad Beaumont or worse George Stark.  I’m pretty sure.

The mention of The Dark Half had me going into the shrine and pulling it off the shelf.  Lately I’ve been rereading some of my favorite books, most of them from my childhood.  There are so many books to read, it’s overwhelming when you consider.  Most of them are quite good and certainly worthy of my time.  The fact that I will never be able to read them all may be my only regret.  I enjoy a diverse or some may say eclectic list.  Old Classics, Science Fiction, Literary, Humor, and even the occasional Romance, but Horror is where my heart lies.  When the world as we know it, is reflected back to us from a fun house mirror our view gets distorted.

What Stephen King and his contemporaries do so well is present us regular Joes, or the girls next door, in a way that we identify with.  We either know these characters or, in some cases, we are these characters.  They do regular things, in a regular world, in the regular way.  They covet what they don’t have, some take the moral high ground and some are content to justify the means with the end.  Characters we know and love, or in some cases love to hate.

Then they put these regular Joes in situations that are irregular.  They imagine them into predicaments that in some cases could happen to us all and in some cases (Thank God) cannot.  But because we identify with them from the outset we go along for the ride.  Deeply imbedded into this impossible situation we struggle right along with them.  When their car overheats and they stroll up to that farmhouse that is all to conveniently near by.  We are glad they won’t have to spend the night on a deserted road.  At the same time we want to scream, tell them no.  This is a bad idea.  And when a little old lady answers the door and invites them in for tea we are relieved.  Her deformed middle-aged son who lives in the basement sharpening scythes all day won’t be up until later.  Not until it’s TOO LATE, for them anyway.

Authors who can pull us into the mundane world and turn it ever so slightly.  Just enough to raise the hair on the back of our neck, but not so much that it is unrecognizable, these are the masters of horror.  These are the men and women who cause me to regret I have but one lifetime to read all there is to read.  This is the joy of reading.  And of course these are the authors who I emulate in my own writing.

I was going to add a short list of my favorites here and realized that it would not–could not ever be short.  In fact the longer I write this blog more great books come to mind.  Books that seized me by the imagination and never have let go.  I still know the names of characters I read long ago.  Why?  Because they impacted me in way that refuses to slacken their grip.  From the black-hearted Montresor in E. A. Poe’s, The Cask Of The Amontillado, and young Jim Hawkins of Robert Louis Stevenson’s, Treasure Island, to Joe Hill’s Judas Coyne of A Heart Shaped Box and Christopher Moore’s Charlie Asher of It’s A Dirty Job, all these characters have rented rooms in my memory and there they stay.  The fictional character boarding house is getting crowded.  But I’ll put on an addition, if need be, to accommodate the next wave of great characters surely to come into my life.

Thanks to all those authors who willingly wear their hearts on their sleeves and sleep with the lights on.

Don’t forget Blood Trade Faith Hunter’s newest Jane Yellowrock novel is available now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. blood-trade-cover

Today were traveling with Mr. Peabody in the Way Back Machine for this weeks quotation.(If you know this pop culture reference you’re old, just saying)

“The level of our success is limited only by our imagination”  Aesop

Write On,

Eerie Dwarf

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