Monday, October 25, 2004

Things the Guru Never Told Me, Part One: It's the Second Step That's Hard

Today tastes like . . . sugared nails. Jordan nails? Which begs the question, do you suck the coating off and then chew, or bite down from the very beginning?

Listening to: Stephen King's Dark Tower VII: The Tower. Another reviewer called it indulgent, and I agree. King has a tendency to put plot aside while he focuses on character, and this time, he's divided the party and is telling the story from each point of view, so we see it through Jake's eyes, then through Callahan's; though Eddie's, then through Roland's. Hence, the action moves very very sloooowly. Also, as fans who have read his more recent material know, the Tower has been coloring many books, most notably Black House, and the Bobby Garfield story in Hearts In Atlantis. Now these stories (and others) pop up in the Tower series.

Additionally, King also often ends up going for the E.C. Comics gross-out, mixing horror with, well, just icky. Horrific, perhaps, if you are of the mentality that is "horrified" at blood, snot, and other effluvia; but the only thing that comes to my mind when the author writes of pus on the mirror or blood on the floor is, "Great. Something ELSE to mop up."

And this is a pity, because at his best, his villains' voice resonates with the voice of my shadow self's shadow self--the darkest, bleakest, most destructive part of me. When his Really Bad Thing is whispering to one hero, "Kill the boy; cut his throat and wash me in his blood. Then, throw yourself out of the window. If you do this, if you please me well, I will let you sing my praises all the way down." and the RBT's voice is low, and melodic, and reasonable. Ever so reasonable. I can understand the hero listening, nodding along; and the boy who can hear the RBT too is nodding. Whispering back to do it, just to do it, that they've come a long way, but who cares. It doesn't matter; the quest doesn't matter, they'll all end someday, so why not here and now, serving the Really Bad Thing?

And then later we're treated to a round of exhibitionistic phlegmophagia and cutesy euphemisms for sex, and suddenly I'm transported back onto the schoolyard. The part where as an adult, I recall what was REALLY funny then—the scat jokes, the horrified fascination with bodily fluids and excreta—and all I can do is sigh and roll my eyes.

I'm enjoying it, don't get me wrong. But for me, it's kind of like the last half of Tolkiein's Return of the King, right after Strider/Aragorn heads off through the crack to negotiate with the specter kings and enlist their aid. It took the movie to get me to read past that point, because by that part of the story, I pretty much lost interest. I'm holding on because King done give me his gotta—I gotta know if Roland makes it to the Tower, and what he finds there.

Progress report:

Scroll down to last Monday and look at the wimple and castle blan. Haven't knit a stitch on these since they aren't easily carried, simple to work, or under a deadline. Knit happens, as they say.

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