Friday, August 26, 2005

King Posted by Picasa

The Darktower ~ by boehmke Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Enchanted Light of The Dark Tower

This has been waiting too long.

When I was 13 years old I found a copy of Stephen King's 'The Drawing of the Three', in a stack of book boxes in my fathers library. Anyone who has read the books knows right away that this, as book number 2, is a strange place to start my relationship with Roland of Gilead, partly eaten (well, nibbled on) and confused on the beach. None the less, as hard as I looked I could not find book number 1 hiding anywhere in my dads treasure of books. I had read Pet Semetary a while before and was already becoming a fan of King's. I cracked the book and by the second page I was hooked.

It wasn't until after the 3rd Dark Tower book that I went back and finally read The Gunslinger. Although much shorter then all the others, and easy to read, the first book along the path to the tower left a sour taste in my mouth. This grisly, emotionally void and all around ruthless man was not the Roland I had been steadily falling into love/hate with. Don't get me wrong, throughout the entire 7 novel story, Roland maintains a type of gristle and dry toast feel, but as the priviledged silent observer, we get to know the warm passionate heart beating within his scarred chest. I didn't much like Roland in the gunslinger, although the setting and taste Mr. King opens the tale with is absolutely intoxicating with potential. The meeting of Roland and the young Jake Chambers was a powerful element indeed. Their eventual parting, as the gunslinger lets the boy fall to his death in an attempt to catch his nemesis, sets us up to despise Roland. Jake says "Go then, there are other worlds then these..." before he allows Roland to drop him. I would have cried, but that I had already read book number 2 and knew full well that Jake and Roland get another chance. The opening line of book numero uno, which by now has been memorized by hundreds of thousands (if not more), is my all-time favorite opening line. "The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed." Even if you are not into westerns, that is a very intriguing opening.

L.Ron Hubbard's first line in Battlefield Earth comes in as a close second; "Man", said Terl, "is an endangered species." Love it. I am so about the opening line!

Back to the point. I was worried, along with countless others, that King would not live long enough to finish weaving the spell he had used to ensnare us all. Poor guy probably had to deal with millions of assholes hounding him day after day to let us off the hook, let us in on what happens. But then again, King's the one that started the tale, and it was only King that could have finished it. The Drawing of the Three was a wild story of magic and horror. A Salvador Dali painting in your mind with a good dose of multiple personality disorder and big guns. Destiny and faith, hard fucking work and pure imagination. A brilliant work of art. I think that this is still one of my favorite books in the whole she-bang. After the man-eating 'lobstrocities', Roland finds 3 mysterious doors on the beach which bring into the story Rolands ka-tet; Jake, Eddie Dean and the half woman split in two known eventually as Susannah. Add some hard lessons in shooting pistols and serious heroin withdrawals and you got yourself thoroughly addicted to this tale. Then we anxiously open the next novel to find ourselves on a fast-paced ride across a landscape of monsters in the belly of a maniacal train engine. Wandering through a strange land that has 'moved on' and encountering futuristic relics that seem somehow too familiar. Puzzles and brain benders on a terrifying roller-coaster. Yup, that sums up the flavor of book number 3; The Wastelands. This book truly sped along like a bullet and in fact I think I read it so fast I hardly retained any small details. Worth reading twice. Well it's all worth reading more then once.

All the DaRk ToWer fans waited with anticipation for the release of Wizard and Glass. It was oh so worth the wait. Finally we really get some real history of what has made Roland into the man he was destined to become. King adds some more delicious elements to his enchanted tale and takes all of us; his 'constant readers', even further through the magic door. There we meet Susan, the love of his life. Yes, this is where we really being to notice the similarities; Susan, Susannah. Something is definitely brewing in the dark cavern of King's imagination. Dangerous crystal balls and crazed townspeople, a disgusting old witch and a beautiful young woman. In this book Roland's ka-tet gets a close encounter with the demons that haunt their teacher.

It was a few years, a few too many, before we got to read the last three books. During these years, the brilliant Stephen King was almost killed by a van on his daily walk. Having read his book 'On Writing', I got an inside look at what that experience did to my absolute favorite author, and I can just say, we are all lucky that he ever got back to it. Boy did he get back to it though. I am almost positive that before the accident, King did not have plans to write the end of the tale the way he eventually did. I know this mainly because King himself has said that he does not write with a plot, he allows his stories to come through him. His near-death changed the story inside of him and what we all ended up with was so much more then I personally ever imagined. Now, its apparent that I could go on to write an entire short-story style synopsis of the complete tale, but I will not. I want to leave the fun up to those of you who wish to read the stories. Well... maybe just one line for each story. Otherwise this post would not have a proper ending I think. Let's see here. Our heros perform some real hero work by taking on the predators who have been stealing the children of a small town. The ka-tet gets divided and its a mad race through time and reality and monters. The dark tower is so close and the cost so much... dun dun dun!!!! There ya go! The tidbits I have revealed are only the smallest cracks in a door you are looking through, and I hope they inspire you to open that door and leap. The last 3 books are The Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah and finally, The Dark Tower.

There are some fans, whom I don't really consider fans but more like followers, who have all kinds of negative opinions of how King ended the tale of Roland of Gilead... to them I say "HA!" lets see you write it better, or write at all. Art is not an arguable medium. One cannot say to another "you're art is not the way I would have done it." Well sure you could say that, but you can all see how ridiculous it sounds. Art is a personal expression, and I am ever grateful that Stephen King opened his telepathic mind and let so many of us inside. He is a master-storyteller. A natural... The teacher I wish I had. End of story.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sleep Denied

Sleep is such a wonderful thing, and you almost never really notice that until you can't seem to get any. I have been fortunate enough to not suffer from insomnia; I am generally someone who can sleep, even if not ultra deeply. The worst sleep deprivation I have had in my life is definitely due to having a child.

For the first year at least, sleep is a golden thing... almost forgotten but never forsaken. I remember wandering around some days, after weeks of little sleep, wondering at the fact that I was even standing. I have never been a gentle waker. If I have not had enough sleep, I am grumpy and not nice to be around, or at least I was that way before motherhood. After about six months of sleep deprivation, you just cope and live with it... or I guess some people crack and maybe kill people, but luckily not most.

Well my son is almost eight years old now, so sleep is not often a problem for me anymore, except when he's sick. Like now. He has bronchitis for the first time. When he was three months old he had whooping cough, man that lasted longer then some marriages, but sleep deprived was a common thing then. Now, well he has been sick with a fever on and off for over a week, and a nasty cough for just as long. On Tuesday we went to the doctor, and discovered bronchitis... now he's using a bronchiodialator (inhaler) to help open his lungs and cough less. So sleep has actually gone up in the last few days from maybe 2 hour periods to about 4 hours at a time. I think I am going to bed now... Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Best Romantic Movie of All Time

If you haven't seen The Notebook, do it now! I put off renting this romantic movie for quite some time mainly because I was 'put off' by the cover. Honestly a cover where two people are kissing in the rain is about as meaningful to me as a cover with a sexy chick holding a gun; a little too predictable for my taste. This is definitely one of those cases that gives any kind of meaning to a gem such as "don't judge a book by its cover".

Ok I will try my best not to ruin the tale for any of you who are experimental enough to take my advice, but I will give some insight as to why I consider this one of the greatest romances ever. This movie is for all of us tragic romantics who strive for actual happiness and a long-lasting loving relationship with a soul-mate. I'm talking about the people who do not settle for merely financial comfort or 'stick with it' because that is what you are 'supposed' to do. Garth Brooks wrote an excellent song for those of us who pursue love like this, called Standing Outside the Fire, and as much as I am not much of a country music fan, I do love Garth Brooks. I remember once being so hurt by love and singing that song at the top of my lungs, crying my eyes out... yup, hopeless romantic.

This movie is such a beautiful story with as much possibility, uncertainty, fireworks, craziness, pain and hope to give an actual example of 'this thing called love'. At least the kind of love that drives us who chose to "dance within the flames" to keep dancing. If you are ever inspired to cry at a movie, be prepared. I loved this movie, and yes I am willing to admit I do love my share of chick flicks, but this is a powerhouse all on its own. Rachel McAdams is enchanting and fiery along side Ryan Gosling who plays the kind of man who is sexiest indeed. The two of them won an award for the best on-screen kiss from this movie, I happened to be watching the award show and caught their acceptance 'kiss'; they got on stage and re-enacted the famous kiss. I tell you it was HOT, no wonder the chemistry seemed so real, I think it may actually have been real. Its no doubt that these two brought home the depth of emotion in the movie, but it is definitely the story itself that wins the gold stars on my chart. See it, feel it... cry if you must.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Surviving Sanity

Well I am back. It's taken me a while, but life is so full and crazy sometimes that finding time to blog is just not easy. Time and heart I guess. I am fairly tired of living with that feeling of urgency and confusion and about ready to get to some semblance of feeling blissfully 'normal'. I am told by my father that when I make big changes, it is never easy (I like to think its not easy for anybody), and I always end up setting off a few bombs. Well I am in no situation to argue. Lucky for me, and anybody within a ten mile radius of me I imagine, he says that the battle does not usually last long before it burns itself out and I end up accomplishing some real change on the other side. It's funny, just when you think you have gone completely insane, leave it up to your parent(s) to tell you that they could have told you this would happen, and it's a very 'you' thing to do.

Now that I am on the other side, the necessary growth that's been revealed by the settling rubble is a little overwhelming to say the least. I am not a person to look away once my path has become apparent, I prefer to tackle my life head on, but when its deep rooted programming that I am trying to change, I can not avoid heaving a big sigh and wishing for a little leniency. Meh, what else am I here to do anyway? I always knew it was all about the experience, even if sometimes the experience really bites.

Last Christmas I made some special presents for my closest friends, the artist in me. I, being a word lover, came up with a word for each of them that I felt was important to their particular character and drew them in a 'artsy' way. They were words that I hoped would inspire them. This year my close friend, K, decided to make a word for me, she had help from some of the others to decide on my word, and she gave it to me when we were out having our birthday desert (we have the same birthday) just recently, in the midst's of all this upheaval. It was an inspiration I needed.

The word they had chosen for me was Growth. Ain't life grand.

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