You’ve probably already heard that wonderfully creepy urban tale about a teenage boy and girl making out in a car in some Lovers Lane in Anytown, USA, and how the boy starts telling the girl of the “Hook Murders” in the area, whereby amorous teens are being killed by an insane, escaped killer with a hook for a hand. Perhaps not the smartest move on the boy’s part, as his girlfriend gets all distracted by fear, going from initial anxiety to eventual near-hysteria, resisting his advances and demanding they leave that instant. Which he eventually does. He’s all bummed, they bicker on the way back, arrive at her place, she jumps out, slams the door…. and screams. He runs around to her side of the vehicle…. and sees what she sees: a single bloody hook dangling from the door handle.
“Here is a list of terrible things,
The jaws of sharks, a vultures wings,
The rabid bite of the dogs of war,
The voice of one who went before,
But most of all the mirror’s gaze,
Which counts us out our numbered days.”
― Clive Barker, Days of Magic, Nights of War
I did promise a while back that I’d return to the theme of horror fiction, undoubtedly my favourite genre. As a result, this somewhat horror-related post will be lacking the lighthearted humour of my usual fare, so please skip this if you’re not in the mood for heavy and ponderous (you can’t even imagine how much I wanted to add a “LOL” at the end of that sentence). Continue reading “The Mirror’s Gaze”
This is an encore presentation of a previous post by author David Antrobus, from the Franklin Mint’s David Antrobus collection. – editor’s note.
“I just saw the movie, wasn’t a patch on the book.”
If I’d stuffed my face with a deep-fried Mars bar every time I heard this sentiment, I’d probably lose a weigh-in with an elephant seal, have a mouthful of teeth with the average consistency of a sea sponge, and skin the overall texture of pepperoni by now. I’ll bet every last one of us has said something similar, though. Which makes every last one of us a bit weird, really. Not quite stupid, but getting there, you know?
Let me explain my thinking. (I find I have to do that a lot, which says nothing good about me whatsoever.)
It’s actually quite simple. A book is a book. A movie is a movie. And Popeye is what he is… an extremely odd-shaped sailor with a fetish for canned green vegetables.
Seriously, though, “the book was better” has become one of those irksome knee-jerk phrases that are stand-ins for something else entirely. See: “it’s political correctness gone mad!” which actually means “damn, the world doesn’t condone my bigotry any more, so I’ll just have this here tantrum instead”. Or: “I knew them before they were famous” which translates as “I am an unctuous hipster and will drip oily, corrosive scorn on, you know, like, everyone not in the inner circle of me, dude.” Continue reading “Redux: The Book Was Better”
I’ve discovered a potentially fatal flaw in my personality. I mean, outside the more obvious ones (no need to point them out in the comments section, folks). Put simply, I like genre and I like literary. In musical terms, I like teen pop and modern classical, Spears and Stockhausen, Avril and Arvo. But this post is neither a demonstration of my “amazing” pop cultural eclecticism nor a reflection of my mental health anxieties; we like what we like, after all. No, this post is an attempt to reconcile two apparently opposing impulses in the world of writing; the aforementioned (alleged) impasse between genre and literary fiction.
For anyone who has attended a university-level creative writing course, even a single workshop, this dichotomy might already have raised its slightly distorted head. I majored in English literature and I’ve also attended a one-year certificate course in creative writing at a local university, and I don’t regret either of them. My purpose here is certainly not to trash the rarefied air of academia. Far from it. Because I genuinely learned a great deal about writing—about what works and what doesn’t work, about the inner alchemy and the outer pragmatism of this eccentric world—from those two experiences. Not to mention the confidence boost of sharing your work among motivated and engaged peers as deeply in love with the written word as you, alongside the equally essential practice of reading in front of an audience so you don’t forget that word’s spoken nature either. Continue reading “The Good, The Bad, The Indifferent”