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Posts Tagged ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’

I have a deep love for Neil Gaiman. It’s not an uncommon affliction. I also have a growing love for Misha Collins, which is similarly common. Over the last month, these two men have occupied most of my free time. So much time…

There are books that transport me, let me escape from whatever it is that’s overwhelming me at the time. There are books that enthrall me to the point at which sleep and food become hindrances rather than necessities. There are books that open my mind and fill it with facts, ideas, or possibilities of which I’d never heard. Every one of them is precious to me.

Mr. Gaiman’s works do something else in addition to all of this: They inspire me. After reading one of his books, I scurry about my apartment or office or hotel room looking for a pen and some paper. I’m driven to write and write well. I’ll stay in this frenzy for a number of weeks, scrawling bits and pieces of stories on stray napkins or scraps of paper. When the high ends–and it always does–I slump into days or weeks of nothingness.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane was released not too long ago. I had the book in my hands within a day or two of its release. It took me about a week to work up to reading it. It was shorter than I had expected and, before I even began to read it, I feared reaching its end. I knew it would take me only a few hours to read the whole of it. Anticipation and dread–a reader’s personal hell hounds. So, yes. it took me a while to convince myself to read the book.

Gaiman did not disappoint. It was wondrous, truly. I could tell you about the story, the characters, and the setting–but those would be spoilers. I disapprove of spoilers. You should read it with fresh, unadulterated eyes. That’s a difficult thing to do in this age. It’s worth it, though, if you can manage it. I started reading it and it held me until the very end. I even kept reading through the acknowledgements, mostly because I didn’t want it to end. Mr. Gaiman must have suspected this would happen. You’ll see what I mean. I ignored him and read on until there were no more words. It was a splendid journey, thought provoking and magical. After I finished it, I sat there for a while and just waited for something to happen. I’m not really sure what I expected. I thought about my childhood, the friends that I had (real and imaginary), the empty places in my memory. Nothing else happened. I went to bed, woke up the next morning, and went to work. I’d like to think that at least a piece of me has been changed, though.

The next several days were spent writing. Remember the ghost story I mentioned? In the end, there were no ghosts. Instead, there were hollow humans and shadows. I do like how it turned out. It still needs tweaking, of course, but I like it. Right around the same time, I resumed watching Supernatural. I don’t have a television, so I rely on Netflix. This means that I tend to be behind on everything. Supernatural was no exception. Over the last month, I’ve watched seasons 5-8. Some might call that a mistake. If it is, I’ll revel in my transgression.

One word–a name, really: Castiel. I could leave it there, I suppose. Say nothing further, save you from my new-found fangirl status. There’s no fun in that, though. Social media has done little to save me from myself; it’s only fair that you should be my next victim. My family is certain that I have been replaced by some other-worldly creature. It’s possible. This level of obsession is wholly unfamiliar to me.

The character of Cas is certainly intriguing: an angel of the Lord who falls for the sake of humanity. It’s not a new tale, but it is one of my favorites. The idea of purity becoming corruption–it occupies more than a few of my thoughts. That sounds creepy when read aloud. Awkward. Anyways, the development of the character is good. His story is good. His apparent innocence is so well contrasted with his being a warrior of God, capable of smiting demons with a touch of his hand. Let’s not bypass the fact that his presentation is damn sexy. Naturally, I started looking into the actor who plays the character so well.

Misha Collins (Dmitri Krushnic) is insane. He is adorable, but he is crazy. Not the electroshock-therapy kind of crazy. No, no. He’s the I-want-to-hang-with-you kind of crazy. What makes him particularly brilliant is that he doesn’t try to hide it. Wherever he goes, a wake of good times and fun seems to follow. What does that mean for his fans? Lots of pictures of him riding stuffed animals or an inflatable duck, of him dressed in drag on numerous occasions, of him modeling any hat that he lays his hands on, and lots of pictures of his tongue. There are also the “Cooking Fast and Fresh with West” videos on YouTube wherein he cooks whatever his son picks up at the store. Watermelon peanut turkey. Cornbread with marshmallows. In addition to being an awesome father, he’s the founder of GISHWHES (the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen) and of Random Acts. He’s spreading his brand of crazy. I think I can live with that.

He’s not the only celebrity to be charitable and to have fun. The poor man is just the focal point of my current addiction. Reading his posts on Twitter and Facebook and watching his interviews got me thinking, though. The adage “With great power comes great responsibility” keeps coming to mind. Great power usually means you’re visible to the masses. Being visible makes you responsible. If you have the money, the power, or the prestige to make the world a better place, then you best get to it. It’s not wrong for us mortals to expect that of those we idolize. For us to expect it of them, but not of ourselves–that’s wrong. We may not be able to send $500,000 to a homeless shelter or build a school for kids in a foreign country, but there are little things that we can do that can lead to the big things being accomplished. And we should do those until such a time as we are able to do better.

Basically, I’ve spent the last month or so contemplating my life and my impact on the world. It hasn’t been great. It’s been quite disappointing, actually. I recognize defects in the world, but instead of doing my part to remedy them, I lock myself in my apartment and in my own head to avoid them. Here’s where I’m supposed to say that I’ll do better, right? But I don’t know if I will do better. Maybe I’ll end up like Cas, making things worse despite my best efforts. Maybe I’ll end up like Misha, making things better because I’m giving my best. I don’t know. Something has to change, though. Might as well be me.

Z.

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