Chet Reads & Writes*

Stuck

What’s happening here…am I lost? I am.

With his voice reverberating though the vestibule of semi-consciousness, he was locked in stark darkness. Darkness so deep, there is no escape. The air feels thick in his mouth, pouring down his esophagus, filling his lungs like hot tar. Lungs overflowing, can’t breathe the air any longer, must expel it all.

COUGH, HACK, COUGH

It won’t leave. Can’t breathe. Lungs beginning to hurt. Pain only experienced once before, recovered from memory like it was still a fresh wound. Feet kicking, arms flailing, body stuck in the swimming pool ladder, eyes seeing the blue sky disappear as vision darkens. Then it happens. A hand on a flailing leg. A pull. Body is free. Head is above water, lungs are filling with air again. Realizing the sky is still there for viewing.

Darkness again.

Still lost. Lungs feel full again, cruel memories playing is all. More fear. Won’t live. Where’s the escape? Darkness begins to fade to nothing. Feeling heavy, losing thoughts…daybreak.

…just a nightmare, that’s all.

Theses and Thats

I’m writing blindly. Long lists of words that are cohesive and surround the same subject, supposedly. Each word, furthering the value of the list, is selected for its singular ability to turn apathy into action.

You do not know of your love for this list of words until you see a carefully planted intruder. This word’s goal is simple. Just by reading it you are supposed to become instantly more interested than you were before you saw this word. Does this word actually have power over you, not really, but it has grabbed your interest. You want to know what is beyond that word, what does it mean in this context, is there something there for you? The only way to know is to explore. I can promise you, though you have only committed to exploring the depths of this one word, you will soon be witness to another delicately designed diagram of words, with more reasons for you to split your time and interests.

Behind every word is another motive. Everyone’s motive is the same, do this for that. Rarely is the that all that rewarding that you would like to do that one thing again for the that, that you no longer wish to have received. Theses and thats are not what we want. When will they learn?

Chestnut

There was a horse named chestnut, and he lived in a barn. By barn I mean studio apartment, and by horse I mean man. Also, by Chestnut I mean Wilson. The man named Wilson, sometimes referred to by the narrator as Chestnut the Gelding, enjoys wearing a dilapidated horse costume in his spare time. Most people believe this to be a particularly odd thing to do in your spare time, therefore, Wilson doesn’t have very many friends.

Chestnut doesn’t care though. He’s a free horse. Who cares what a few podunk Iowans think? They wouldn’t understand a person with real personality even if that person put on a horse costume and kicked them in the throat. Believe me I’ve seen Chestnut experiment with this method before. That’s how I met him.

Used by Dreams

This is a paragraph from a much larger project I’m bouncing around in my head. I have been debating for a little while now on whether or not I wanted to share it or not. That decision has come out in your favor dear readers.

I had a dream last night. There isn’t anything compelling or worth sharing about this dream, but note that I did, in fact, have a dream. Each morning I wake to a fuzzy, steel blue scene that eventually develops into my room. At this point I often realize there are residual, fleeting, emotions and memories firing around my synapses, though all hope of recognizing one or some of them is long gone. There are people who dream, people who have dreams, people who remember their dreams, and people that are borrowed by dreams. I believe I fall into the latter most group.

This is No Land for Gods

Whenever I hear the name Neil Gaiman I instantly think, literary superstar. Primarily all of my Gaiman knowledge extended from friends whom loved anything he had ever penned. First hand, all I had to go on was seeing Coraline. Finally, I’ve read my first Gaiman novel. This decision was heavily influenced by several people whose recommendations I trust, but the winner was American Gods.

American Gods is a book that I had an incredibly difficult time getting in to. I read the first ninety or so pages and was ready to shred it. The main character was dull, nothing seemed to be happening, and it had made me feel so smart because I had already figured out the identities of some of the more secretive characters. (Helpful Hint: They aren’t that secretive at all.) With that, I put the book down for a bit. In the mean time I read Lucky Peach Vol. 2: The Sweet Spot.

After a few friendly chats with the recommenders I resolved to pick up where I left off in American Gods. Which was certainly the correct decision.

At its core American Gods is the tale of the old Gods who have landed in America through years of emigration. Now the old Gods are forced to contend for attention with the new Gods. There is a war coming between the two, and we are along for the recruitment journey, via Shadow.

Shadow is the protagonist in this story. Love him or hate him, he’s who we have. Shadow is released from Prison at the beginning of the story, and meets a stranger as he is travelling home. The stranger, answering to Wednesday, is there to recruit Shadow’s help in his wayward adventure across the American Midwest.

As the story progresses we meet a bevy of other characters and Gods with birthrights from Norse to Egyptian mythology. There are plenty of recognizable faces in the crowd if you have done any religious reading at all, but then there are also some lesser known entities that I found to be highly intriguing.

Eventually the entire scheme begins to fall into place. We’ve seen hardship, and more than one surprising twist along the way. Whenever I finished the book I was very satisfied with the end of it all. There was nothing that happened where I thought, “No, that doesn’t make sense. Why is he motivated to do this?” These are the kind of endings I like. The ones where, and I’m stealing this from a blogger I read for the first time yesterday, you are left with a book hangover. There are ideas implicated with American Gods that can stick in your brain for a while. It’s fun to back this blog up against my Slaughterhouse-Five blog, with all of its fun thoughts and interpretations of fatalism. I hope this book leaves you with that same sense of wonder.

The things I didn’t like about American Gods all happen in those first 90 pages, and I addressed a few of them already. However I wanted to bring up a way that I feel Gaiman was a little sneaky, at least for me. He writes in a simple language. It is easy to understand and usually to the point. His similes and metaphors aren’t lacking, but they aren’t really the greatest I’ve ever read either. This immediately tricked me into thinking that I am smarter than him. As the plot unfolded I learned that this is not the case, well…maybe I know more than him about something or another, but definitely not how to write an intriguing story. Not yet anyway.

Final call is, yes you should definitely read this book. It’s dark, it’s a bit fantastical, and it will stay with you for awhile. Trust me, when you hit that brick wall around page ninety, just hammer through it. You will not regret it.