who the heck knows anything, anyway

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hellboy, The Satanic Verses, and some additional musings, to boot

I need to get this off my chest: I love Hellboy. Never have I read a comic and fallen so immediately in love. Mike Mignola's writing, artwork, and paneling--not to mention knowledge of folklore--puts pretty much everyone to shame. That man knows how to balance. I can't wait until he starts doing the art again. (Soon? Please?)

In what seems to be coincidentally related in title*, I've started reading Salman Rushdie's epically brilliant and oddly beautiful The Satanic Verses. Oddly beautiful, because the narration is, well, unique, but Rushdie has such a way with words that, even at his most playful, he makes you doubt your own ability to speak, let alone write. It's awesome, in the most literal sense, and I'm gobbling it up in a way that I haven't done since Roberto Bolaño's 2666. I am hereby diagnosing myself with Particular Reader Syndrome, an ailment known for preventing a reader from properly enjoying any literature that is not absolutely Top Tier. Seriously. I can't make myself finish books that aren't damn near perfect. Life is too short to spend hours of it reading less-than-fantastic books. And I am not a classics snob--I love contemporary writers, too. Language seems to be the crux of it. The writing I love to read is essentially linguistic. Story is important, of course (I'm a bit particular about that, as well), but you can tell a story in virtually any medium. 'Tis writers who get to use words. Written words. Words that, on their own, are beautiful and robust! Positively delectable. 

Unsurprisingly, reading nothing but Nobel-darlings and the Critically Acclaimed has had an effect on my ability to produce--though not in the way one might guess. No, I have not been spurred into action; no, I have not been suffering from writer's block. What has been plaguing me is a short story that I've left alone for a couple of months now. It wasn't a great short story, because I am not so skilled in writing succinctly**, but the heart and bones of it were perfect. It needs to be fleshed out into something longer. And that sounds like just the project I need right now (I have not been feeling very creatively fulfilled of late)--the only problem is that I'm a little terrified of it. I could not tell you why, but I have been avoiding opening up that Word file for days now. All this brilliant writing begs me to open it, begs me to give it proper legs and veins, begs me to turn it into whatever creature it's trying to grow up to be. 

Maybe I am afraid of creating a monster. 
(I know you were waiting for that. haha. Sorry--I just couldn't resist!)

Honestly, I think I'd be ok with a little monster on my hands; I think I'm more deterred by the thought of creating something that isn't alive at all. Because, you see, one can still write a story about a monster.

Sounds like Pandora's dilemma:

Do I open it?

*and a lore/myth axis, actually. I am a predictable creature.
**witness: any of my blog posts