Thursday, June 28, 2012

Shotgun Reviews: The Stand

After a plague kills 99.4% of the human population, the survivors form two groups; one under the benevolent guidance of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail, the other led by the cruel drifter turned dictator Randall Flagg. 

·      The version I listened to was the “complete & uncut” edition.  I agree with Mr. King that a book should not be edited just to save paper and ink (the reason why the original version was cut short by 150,000 words).  However, I do have to admit that the story dragged at times.  The first and third sections were gripping but much of the second half of the middle section lagged.
·      However, I did appreciate the story’s enormous scope.  The novel begins in “modern day” America and ends in a world reshaped by supernatural forces.  A lesser storyteller would have skipped the plague and plopped us straight into Mad Max land. 
·      One of the most intriguing parts of the novel was that the characters who went over to Randall Flagg’s side weren’t serial killers and devil worshippers.  Many of them were friendly, moral human beings.  This may have been Mr. King’s way of saying that the devil has something to offer even the best of us.  They were terrified by their leader but still got things from him they would not have gotten from Mother Abigail.   
·      That being said, one of the characters who turned to Randal Flagg’s side was someone the reader (and even the heroes) saw coming a mile away.  I would have preferred more of a gradual decent into evil rather than a character who was so obviously going to turn bad.  It also seemed strange that the main characters had a sixth sense not to trust him.   
·      The Stand was surprisingly spiritual.  I would not call it Christian Fiction but God has more of a presence than I was expecting, especially in the second half.  Of course there is also a good deal of resentment toward God for allowing the plague in the first place. 
·      I was not nearly as disappointed by the ending as I was when I saw the made for TV movie.  It could very well be that I have matured since the ninth grade or that the book itself is considerably better than the TV version.  I got more story from the book than I did in the show, and I could see how the characters and the events were leading up to the climactic scene.  The novel comes off as an apocalyptic game of chess between God and the devil. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Two Penny Saga: Mary's Strange Addiction

 My friend Tamanya suggested this first line to me.  I wrote for five minutes.  This is what I got.  (If any of you have any more suggestions for prompts please let me know.) 

 She knew she shouldn't have eaten that much glitter. But she had no idea it would turn out like this.

Adam said he taught third grade so Mary figured that was why he had a bag of rainbow glitter lying under the table on his back patio.  Mary grabbed the bag, scooped out a glob of the glitter and smeared it on her tongue.

“I hope you like red wine!”  Adam called from the kitchen. 

Mary dropped the bag under the table and turned.  Adam strode from the kitchen with that perfect smile of his.  He was the first legitimately nice guy she had ever met and-

Mary started to rise up off the picnic table.

“Shit!”  She grabbed onto the table and pulled herself down. 

“Mary!”  Adam shouted.  “Did you eat my fairy dust?”

“I thought it was glitter!” 

“Why would you eat it if you thought it was glitter?”

“I-.”  Mary stared at the deck.  “I have a problem.  Ever since I was four I’ve had this compulsive urge to eat glitter.  No one else knows about it.  You must think I’m a freak.”

“No!”  Adam sat down on the bench and took her hands.  “You’re not a freak!  I wish you’d told me about this sooner but I still love you!”

“You do!”  The happy thought shot Mary into the air.  She was a mile above the earth before she realized that she needed to suppress her happy thoughts.  “Grandma’s funeral!” she shouted.  “My parent’s divorce!  Putting down Scruffy my dog!” 

She dropped out of the sky like an anvil. 

“Adam Loves me!”  She rocketed up again.  “Putting down Scruffy!”  She started to drop. 

She went back and forth shouting “Adam Loves me….Putting down Scruffy….Adam loves me….Putting down Scruffy….” All they way down to the earth. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

What went through my head while skydiving

Yesterday morning Kimmy and I jumped out of an airplane two miles above the ground.  (Fortunately we were both attached to people who know what they were doing.)
  • The absolutely most terrifying part of the experience was signing the wavers stating, "You may (and probably will) die today."
  • There isn't a whole lot to the "skydiving class" before you jump.  While we were walking to the plane I was wondering "when does the class begin."
  • Despite the expression on my face in photos I don't remember being all that scared when my feet  left the plane.  My senses were so overwhelmed there wasn't much of my brain left for emotion.   
  • I will never appreciate a view like I did falling straight toward Ocean City. 
  • My initial reaction when the parachute opened was not relief (like I assumed it would be).  I was more disappointed that the free fall was over. 
  • Regardless, parachuting down was my favorite part of the experience. I especially liked having control of the chute and spinning to get a better view of the horizon. 
  • The only time when I started to feel anxious was when we got closer to the ground and the fact that we were up in the air became more real.
  • The landing was smoother than I thought it would be.  I was expecting a bump like when you land in a plane but we just slid right in.
  • And of course the very first thing I did when we landed was look up in the air to make sure that the parachute attached to Kimmy had opened (it had).