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The Gunslinger, The Road and Mobile Apps

So, it’s  been a long time since I’ve posted here, and today marks something new—trying out the WordPress app. 

But, let’s move along. This week, I started reading Stephen King’s The Gunslinger. The decision to read it followed watching the movie with Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, an OK movie, despite faltering at the box office. It one of those movies that probably would work better as a TV series, and I understand that’s in the works.

If you’ve followed this blog for some time you might be surprised I haven’t read the novel beforehand.  But, I haven’t read much Stephen King at all. Something I hope to remedy. 

I like it, it’s bleak desert setting with a blend of fantasy, Western and science fiction. The gunslinger himself is the quintessential Western movie hero, like Clint Eastwood’s nameless rider. Then of course you have the fantasy quest trope with the gunslinger in pursuit of an evil wizard and seeking the secrets of the Dark Tower.  King hints at Arthurian legend.

What strikes me, however, is the sort of understated prose and the story arc’s similarity to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. There are moments when I think of that bleak novel, and I wonder if McCarthy read King. It certainly feels like it.

Just some random thoughts for now.

Until next time…


Love and Euphoria

So, along with the big to-be-read pile of novels I have, I’m also reading on my Kindle app a self-help relationship book (pauses for guffaws to subside) Make Up, Don’t Break Up: Finding and Keeping Love for Singles and Couples (because reasons) and liked the way the writer, Bonnie Eaker Weil, describes the stages of relationships, in particular, the Euphoria stage, that first stage in which love really is bliss.

You feel blissful and everything seems to spontaneously flow and take care of itself. The first stage of a relationship, which I call the Euphoria Stage, isn’t supposed to last. It’s at the beginning for a good reason. You feel this way because your brain is stimulating the release of powerful “feel-good” hormones called vasopressin and oxytocin, which overpower your fears.

It’s the “falling in love stage,” the “love is blind” stage and we all know it so well. The honeymoon phase, where even negative traits are bypassed for the most part. It’s that stage we see in movies and on TV.

It’s also the stage — it lasts about three to six month, according to Weil — that when it ends, it’s usually the point in which couples break up or seek new rides. It’s also the stage we seem to crave the most. The high our brains shove on us. And it makes me think we seek that high in other ways just to get that feeling back over and over, whether it’s drugs or booze or religious fervor.

I catch it, if I’m lucky, as a writer, especially writing fiction, when the story takes over. It’s a temporary state of being. All are, aren’t they? Nothing is permanent, as Buddhists know. And yet, we seek connection. Something that lasts a lifetime. That true love.

It’s what I’ve longed for. Sort of the paradoxically permanent-impermanence. I’m pretty good managing the Euphoria stage, but like most of us, not so good at going beyond that. (Ironic, I suppose, a professional communicator, a writer, has a hard time with communication.) Of consciously choosing to love someone. Still, I believe. And I believe someone is worth the effort.

— Todd


*Editor’s note: Feel free to show your euphoric love by buying this book or any other I’ve mentioned on this blog as you read all my fabulous blog posts. I am linked to Amazon Associates and can make some money. So buy from me. Now!

A Passionate, Accurate Story

Picking through The Passionate, Accurate Story by Carol Bly, which interested me because it sounded like a good book about adding depth to characters. I’m finding it a disappointing period piece (1990) with all the worst aspects of ‘90s political correctness.

Fiction, in her view, is only accurate emotionally if it follows a set of prescribed values: anti-corporate, anti-violence, etc. She wants writers to raise their consciences to produce propagandistic art.

She also attacks SF as shallow, producing, ironically, the sort of fiction she is prescribing, simply a literature of ideas.

She has a section on encouraging imagination in children, which I’m all for. At the same time, those moments when my imagination was discouraged pushed me to write to explore it.


One Word Writing Prompts: Episode 1, Through the Wormhole

Episode 1










Welcome to One Word Writing Prompts. This, I hope, may be another irregular feature for this blog, and was suggested by writer Amy Sprague. Basically, your instructions, dear Reader, should you wish to participate, are to simply use the word below as a prompt to write something from it. And, if you would like, please feel free to post your creative output in the comments, and with your permission, I might share them in a later post. Have fun. Be creative.


A Dark Journey into Eros

Killing Johnny Fry: A Sexistential NovelKilling Johnny Fry: A Sexistential Novel by Walter Mosley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Combine Henry Miller with Camus and Sartre and you have Walter Mosley’s sexistentialist novel Killing Johnny Fry.

When Cordell Carmel discovers his longtime lover Joelle is having an affair with a casual acquaintance Johnny Fry, Cordell descends into a long day’s journey into night. Cordell immediately quits his job and proceeds to have affairs with multiple women and plots Fry’s murder.

Cordell’s psyche is sent deeper into an existential abyss through his obsession with a high-end porn movie, the Myth of Sisypha.

What follows is a sexual odyssey–and sexually explicit that leads Cordell, bent on revenge, into a hallucinatory adventure with Sisypha herself at an underground combination orgy/Fight Club in which Cordell’s very being is at stake.

In many way’s reminiscent of Camus’ The Stranger and perhaps even Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” the novel’s climax—spoiler alert—ends with Johnny Fry shot down, although it becomes murder by proxy, as Cordell himself cannot go through with the act.

It’s dark exploration of Eros, worth the read. But, don’t expect a story of redemption. Cordell is an existentialist anti-hero at the same level as Camus’ Meursalt.