Monday, January 31, 2011

My Cats Think I'm A Weirdo...

...and they might not be wrong.

I've been slowly rereading all of King's books in chronological order.  This process began at some point a couple of years ago, and I'm now up to Misery.  Nothing terribly weird about that, of course ... relatively speaking.

No, here's the weird: I've decided to read the book out loud to myself.  I've had it in mind to try doing something like that for a while now, and decided it was time to pull the trigger on the idea.  Back in high school, and during my first few years in college, I despised reading out loud; dreaded it, even.  Taking a creative writing course cured me of that: finding the gumption to read my own writing out loud made it easier by far to read someone else's writing aloud, and I was quite a bit better at it than most other students.  Not so much because I was good (I wasn't), but because most of them were just that bad. 

For whatever reason, lately I've been thinking about working out my vocal chords a bit, just to see how it suited me.  The comfort of my own apartment seems like a decent enough place for it, especially since there won't be anybody around but me to listen.

I'm not just reading to myself, of course; I'm also reading to my five (yes, five) cats, who seem to be responding to this experiment mainly by trying vigorously to jump into the middle of the book.  Now, I can't prove that they are trying to block the words so that I can't continue to read them ... but I can't prove they aren't, either.  The dumb little things probably just think I'm describing, in very dramatic detail, the delicious can of food I'm going to be opening for them soon, and they want to let me know in no uncertain terms that yes, they'd be totally into that, so stop with the speechifyin' and get with the food dispensin'.

Speaking of cats, here's an amusing name somebody could give a cat if they were so inclined: Robert Cattinson.  No, seriously, it's all yours; take it, with my blessing.

In any case, reading aloud is proving to be an interesting experiment, and while I'm not even minimally gifted vocally, nor do I have a voice strong enough to hold up to any extended period of reading, I can already tell that the act is forcing me to pay closer -- and better -- attention to the words than I would have been paying otherwise.  I've got a decent attention span, so reading comes easily, but retention is maybe a bit more elusive than I'd like it to be lately. 

I doubt that I'll ever make this a permanent reading habit, but it's been enjoyable so far.

Enough of that, though.  I'm sure that in the coming days, I'll have much to say about Misery.  It's been quite a while since I read this one, and though I don't remember a lot in the way of specifics, I remember enough to know that it's one of King's best novels.

Until next time, just remember: Annie Wilkes has bad breath, and to keep that from being a problem while you are illegally detaining and medicating a gravely injured novelist, make sure you're using Listerine twice daily.  Dirty mouths are for dirty birds!

Friday, January 28, 2011


What happened was this: I was sitting on my couch, reading Peter Guralnick's (so far) excellent biography of Elvis Presley, Last Train to Memphis, and my attention wandered for a few moments.  Somewhere in those few moments, my mind apparently determined that the time had come for me to create a Stephen King-flavored blog.

And here we are.  Or, at least, here I am.  I don't really know if you're there or not, and I suspect that, if I allow this sentence to go on much further, you won't be there much longer even if you are there.

Pausing for a moment to regain control ... annnnnnnnd, we're good.

Part of what has motivated this is the likelihood that -- once near undreamed -- King's Dark Tower cycle may be getting a Lord of the Rings-style Hollywood adaptation, and if that happens, it may prove to be a very interesting next few years for King fans, at least 0.00019% of whom are just bound to want to know what I've got to say about it all, surely.

But really, isn't every year an interesting one for a devoted Stephen King fan?  Honestly, when was the last time a year went by in which the man failed to produce -- either directly or, by virtue of one of his works being successfully adapted, indirectly -- something well worth yakking about? 

Wasn't 2010: Full Dark, No Stars found the master returning to one of his greatest strengths, the novella, and it was a return well worth the wait. 

Wasn't 2009: Under the Dome, warts and all (I never needed to read a novel in which the main male character is called Barbie), was a rousing piece of epic socially conscious science fiction, and even if it had been a complete dud, it would have been worth it just for the excerpts of The Cannibals King posted on his website. 

Wasn't 2008, either: as far as I'm concerned, Duma Key is one of the best novels King has ever written.

This could go on for a while, but let's go ahead and cut the ride in the TARDIS short before we end up listening to Terence Trent Darby again.  Nobody needs that.

My point is, Stephen King rules, and I have thoughts on the subject, and you're welcome to read them.  Sound good?  Awesome of you to approve.

Next time, I'll try to have something substantive to say.  Until then, just remember: Roland is a Pepsi man, but it's only 'cause he never drank a Coca-Cola.