Value of Weird

There’s been much talk about books recently.  It’s a sign.  It’s time to continue to write and type until my fingers fall off.  With all this work, my fingers have gotten a better work out than the rest of my body has, and that has to be stepped up a bit.  There are worse addictions.  I’m able to break bones with these digits, crack walnuts in my palms, and lift 50 pounds with my pinky.  Watch out, world!  In the meantime, I’ll be standing in the corner, crushing heads.

I'm crushing your head

It’s been admitted that classics are my preference.  There is a certain picky attitude that comes along with reading, which defines where my preferences sway.   While on the phone the other night with an acquaintance, someone who I’ve yet to meet in life.  We had a great conversation, she and I, and we laughed quite a bit.  She’s a talent agent in New York City.

My In-Between fiction series through this blog has been paused, and with that I’m on a writing hiatus.  It’ll come back for more episodes, because we’re only sitting at one right now.  There has been a plethora of simple nonfiction ideas swirling about, and these thoughts have been emphasized by the four-day-cation to New York not too long ago, and partially from coming across the F. Scott Fitzgerald gem on my to read list.

The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Most of the contemporary books I read are selective.  It’s an absolute sin, yes sin, that I’ve yet to read the Harry Potter series.  My preferences have stayed true to George Saunders, Dave Eggers, Chuck Palahnuik, Stephen King, Dave Barry, Dean Koonz (who I have to get  back into sooner than later), David Sedaris, and Michael Chabon.  My preference is with weird rather than fantasy; so reading George R. R. Martin‘s series, A Song of Ice and Fire, is not going to happen probably ever.

Martin is a dedicated writer, and I am jealous that he has the ability to write such a series.  It’s just that I cannot do fantasy.  It’s the size and overall capacity of the series that’s intimidating.  Sure, once the series is tapped into, learning the characters will fall into place.  I can do Tolkien.  Rowling will be really fun to read (there will be several times that I will kick myself, questioning why this series wasn’t read sooner).  There is great love for Lovecraft.

Horror.  I love horror:  King, Koonz.  Lovecraft, Matheson, and Poe.  The manifestations created by Bruce Coville and R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps series kept me on the edge of my seat growing up.  Being scared out of my wits is liberating.  Imagination is unstable and wonderful.  Scares are thought provoking.   The twisted concepts, the potential that anything can happen (which is attached to all fiction) gives me goosebumps of excitement.  Anything can be thrown into fiction, but whatever that may be has to manifest itself into something pertinent and even if it’s a vague metaphor.

Fucking loose ends… who likes them?

This is why Palahniuk has my attention.  He can take anything and make it so distorted and ugly, but the product is beautiful.  The dreams and fantasy of Lovecraft–thank you to my buddy, Zach, for getting me into his writing–has ultimately allowed me to pay more attention to my dreams, which are reflected with the to-be-resurrected In-Between series.  A good chunk of the time there is no clear understanding of what the hell Lovecraft is writing about–adds to my fear of fantasy–but there is coping and reassurance.  By the end of a story, there something to ignite an A-HA!!! Moment.

Sure, the fiction posted on this blog is strange.  The poetry is about love.  All these efforts are simply practice.  The segments are based off dreams, so they will not make sense, and it’s a creative outlet.

That’s the beauty of taking on a challenging read.

Damn it!  Now I sound hypocritical.  Ok, Mr. Martin.  Maybe one day I’ll take on your series.  It’s just too much for me right now.  If it is any consolation, King’s The Dark Tower series has been difficult for me to get into.  However, one day they will be read.  Let’s be clear with my not intending to put these authors/series down in any fashion; I just am not ready.

 Lastly, let’s take a quick look at lore.  Aesop and his fables, The Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, and let’s celebrate with all of the folklore of nationalities and religions from around the world.  Where would writing/storytelling be without them?

Shitty and in the gutter.

For 10 years (age 16 to 26), I worked at the Museum of Science and Technology in Downtown Syracuse.  The M.O.S.T. is located in the beautiful and bricked armory.  This historic landmark served its purpose as an armory, as the home of the now-dissolved Syracuse Nationals basketball team, and now as a family-friendly hands-on-science museum since the early 1980’s.  This was an incredible job, and a perk was working in the Silverman Planetarium.  There were a variety of shows that we put on, and they all pertained to the seasons.  We based a show on Native American folklore, which I used to know by heart, and it was a popular show.

It’s not that folklore and fables are a different sense of strange writing/storytelling; this is in the sense that the stories use so many metaphors and illustrate with much personification to tell a tale, ultimately teaching you something about life, love, and environment to name a few.  We’d, as a society, be lost without these tales.

The Greeks and Romans used myths to explain how something came about, but the  short tales from the dawn of time are often utilized to teach lessons.  When talking about constellations in the planetarium, I would have to beat around the bush for the kids, tweaking mythological stories to appeal to the children (and appease the parents).  Sure, you can tell children that Hercules, as one of his famous 12 Labours, defeated the Nemean Lion (the astrological Leo the Lion).  However, you cannot tell them how this first labour was done–strangling the beast, sticking his arm down the lion’s throat and choking him to death.  Fables are on the dark side of literature when you think of it; those stories are tough love lesson teachers.

Folklore has always been family-friendly, because these stories were to be passed down from generation to generation.  They go out of the way to entertain, teach.  Who would want it any other way?

Unconventional is important.

2 thoughts on “Value of Weird

  1. now see, you’re the second person to mention Chuck Palahnuik, who, at peril of committing my soul to hell, i’d not read. a friend, who is thrice the cynic i am, became very excited when i mentioned my love for Kurt Vonnegut, and told me CP is a must. i’m afraid i’ve let my reading go downhill since beginning a blog, which borders on the unpardonable sin. to compensate, i am going to march into my bosses office tomorrow morning, take a piss in her trashcan, and hand her my resignation. i will then be able to blog and read unimpeded, and rely on public assistance to afford me the opportunity to do so.

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