The Three Hundred and Seventy-Third Post: The One Where I Talk About My New Favorite Show…

It’s still Thursday here! I am still on time!

I know that I’ve harped on A Teacher, but this time I am going to talk about a show that I love and why you should be watching it.

Believe it or not…there are other shows out there.

Lovecraft Country is everything that I have looked for in cosmic horror. One of the things that I have lamented about as far as cosmic horror being on the T.V. is that there are key things in the way it’s presented that can’t really translate on the T.V. – on the movies, yes, you can get really, really close. Some of the best examples are from John Carpenter: In the Mouth of Madness, The Thing, They Live and Prince of Darkness.

Lovecraft Country, based on the novel of the same name by Matt Ruff, brings every little terror and point of dread to life. In just two episodes (I can’t binge series, sorry), the show puts insanity, monsters, old families, buried secrets and knowledge hidden from man and heaping on institutionalized Post-World War 2 racism for good measure.

And it doesn’t detract from the story. Here’s why.

One of the hallmarks of cosmic horror is The Other. The thing that exists outside our experience, and that we can not understand without breaking our foundational grip on reality. In Lovecraftian fiction specifically, madness comes at the price of understanding.

In Lovecraft Country, the main character is the Other – just by the virtue of being black in post-World War 2 America. We’re treated to an unblinking look of how the Other is treated: sundown towns, hostility, and segregation. This is only in the first episode and in the first 2/3rds of the show. We don’t hit “Lovecraft Country” until almost the end of the show. While there are numerous tips of the hat to Lovecraft and his circle of writers none of it is a distraction.

But back to the madness.

Madness is subtle here – suppressed memories, flashbacks, and PTSD, but it’s there. No screaming and gibbering about what man is not meant to know. Just the innocent ‘what happened?’ that can be explained away with the mind refusing to correlate its contents. When that happens in the second episode and the ensuing revelations, we get the screaming madness we are waiting for.

This book is on my short list to read in the New Year, right after Radium Girls is done, I will get to this book. If you have the opportunity, get this series, and watch it during Christmas. You will not be disappointed.

This is going to be the final post for 2020. I am happy to have survived it – looking at the beginning posts of this year will tell you how I started this year. I am going to face 2021 with optimism and success. I hope everyone will join me.

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and enjoy the New Year.

The Three Hundred and Seventy-Third Post: The One Where I Shout: “Insanity?! I’m Marinating in it!”

You’d think that some point, I would learn. I mean really learn.

I am aiming for literary fiction, and I have an idea that I’m cribbing a little from the book and the movie The Man Who Laughs. So, I thought I would read the source material and see how I can take a little bit from here and there, put it into the book as a way of giving thanks to the inspiration.

Here’s the problem I have with that.

The saying that fits is ‘eyes bigger than your stomach’. Coming on the heels of Thanksgiving, it’s an apt metaphor. Starting to read this book, I was making notes, getting little ideas which lead to more research topics – topics more grounded on the actual book, such as the daily life of an influencer and ASL poetry.

“When did you become an expert on Nautical superstitions?”
“Lunch time.”

The book isn’t boring, but there is a difference in 17th century French literature and 21st century American literary fiction. The first half of the book deals with the origins of the character unfolding very slowly. I’m not going to ditch it. As much as I espouse ‘reading outside one’s genre’, I’m really sticking with horror, biographies, and history. So, picking up something new and novel (ha-ha) is good for me.

This is how I tend to stumble through research. Start in a manic ‘learn all the things’ mode, then realized that this isn’t what I need and stumble into what I really needed to know while kicking myself on wasting time. Good thing that research-mania didn’t really seize to the point of trying to learn 17th century French. I mean, jeez…I barely passed 20th Century French in high school. How am I going to get a tutor without breaking out a Ouija board?

“You mean I didn’t have to learn the lifespan of dozens of sorts of data storage?” *sigh* “No…I’m fine…really.”

So, here’s what I am going to do.

Breathe. Let the mania wash over me. As I would counsel my little sister: get all the sillies out, first. I don’t have as many sillies as she had, so this will be fast.

After breathing, I’m going to really focus on the meat of the book. Work on the characters. Make them the best they can be. Get their backgrounds solid and research the needs about them first. After that, work on the themes and plot. Once all of that’s done, then I get to work. That’s what I am looking forward to doing. Gotta stay hyped. The best way to do that is focus on what’s important.