Saturday, August 14, 2021

the books we need to read


I've often heard that we write the books that we need to read. Or maybe that some version of us--past or present-- needs to read.  This has been true of some of my books, though others were based less on need than want.  girl show and shared properties for example were pure interest and entertainment.   major characters in minor films was a purging of sorts for bad relationships. feed was one that was pure need.  From it's body issue concerns that would have been useful to my teen self to the death of my mother, writing about which was necessary for my own healing. Also another kind of purging. 

dark country is also a little bit of both--interest and want obviously, encompassing so many things that are my passions--horror, urban legends, dark little stories. Also, teen girlhood with it's twisty paths.  But I was thinking this morning over coffee about 14 year old Kristy and how pleased she would have been with this book enveloping so many of her favorite things. Maybe it's the back-to-school nostalgia, or how I once spent a week in august with my parents ensconced in a Black River cabin, on whose sleeping porch I spent the majority of reading Christopher Pike one novel after another. I found myself remembering how comfortable the iron daybed was, how dark the sky was outside the screens.  How there was an enormous purple armoire in the corner that I was convinced was haunted--not becuase it did anything weird or spooky, but because it was huge and old and painted a strange, lovely color for an antique. 

I also had a cold and a sore arm, courtesy of my freshman year innoculations that occurred the day before we left.  This was the year where it rained much of our visit, not the previous year where we got a flat tire traveling through a huge fire due to drought--a fire that I wrote so many poems about. How we just made it through before they closed the roads entirely.  That year, Wisconsin was thankfully not in flames nor drought, but the remnants were left behind in charred trees and absent vegetation along the highway. Years later, Black River would have too much rain and river--it's 1993 floods left buildings in up to 6 feet of water. Hatfield, where we usually stayed was out of commission for a while after that. But then so much of the midwest was waterlogged that year.  By then I was in college and most of our visits had us staying in town at the Arrowhead and only visiting the lake. 

14 year old me used the rain as even more of an excuse to stay tucked in on that daybed, nursing my cold with Reeses cups and Red Vines and reading since beach trips and fishing expeditions were few.   As soon as I finished one I'd start another.  Probably more than one book a day, checked out from the library or procured at Waldenbooks with allowance money. Mostly all horror, though there might have been some teen romances in there as well. In those days, so much was trying to figure out how to navigate high school, which was weeks away--my only idea of that strange new thing coming from these novels, teen movies of the John Hughs ilk, and, of course, horror. 

So perhaps dark country is mostly for this girl. Though parts are set in the 70's, some in the woods, some in corn fields.  Some, the Slenderman poems, right smack in this decade. Some based in urban legends, some in mythological retellings.  Some in my own autobiography, others entirely based in fiction.  Though she had fallen for Poe in junior high and was trying to write a "novel" , it would still be another year before she write her first poem.  But she would have loved this book, and hopefully so do you...

get a copy here....

1 comment:

marilynonaroll said...

Thanks for these thoughts. Very useful.