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Archive for June 1st, 2008

Not for Michaels

June 01st, 2008 | Category: Life,Opinions

Whenever Sara’s cat gets into something he shouldn’t she says, “no, not for kitties.” So, whenever I see a movie, particularly horror, that I know she wouldn’t like, I say, “no, that’s definitely not for Saras.” Normally, that phrase isn’t necessary for me. Movies and books don’t scare me, they don’t bother me at all. However, I wish to God somebody had said that to me before I watched The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. At this point, anyone who hasn’t seen the movie and doesn’t want to know the ending should stop reading right now.

To put it bluntly, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly fucked me up like nobody’s business. Diving Bell is the true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, a man entirely paralyzed save for his left eye after a stroke. Much of the film is shot in the first-person, looking at the world through his eyes. Waking up in the hospital, the initial sense of confusion and utter disconnect, the realization that he can’t speak, the frustration of not being able to communicate, the loneliness and isolation, it’s all there and it’s captured perfectly. Too Goddamn fucking perfectly. It was like watching a gag-reel of the spectacularly worst moments of my entire life. It’s amazing how I’ve thought the exact same things as him in certain situations. I’m better off than him in that I can use a computer and when I woke up two Januarys ago, I definitely wasn’t surprised I couldn’t walk. Still, we share so many other experiences. Of course, there’s one experience we haven’t yet shared, he’s dead and I’m not. Right when he starts to get a little bit comfortable, right when he’s perfected the use of eye movements and the alphabet to communicate, he’s hit with pneumonia and dies. One evening he wakes up coughing, mucus pouring from his trach site. It’s such a disturbing image and I can’t seem to shake it. I actually started coughing while writing this, needed a suction really badly and immediately saw that image. It was like watching how I’m almost certainly going to die. I’m going to have some kind of acute respiratory failure and no vent or medicine will be able to help me. I’ll drown, I’ll suffocate, I’ll die. That movie gave me a bunch of images to go along with things I already worry over.

Obviously, I’ll get over it, Diving Bell will fade some, but not yet. I wanted to drown it out with brandy, but I know that is the worst possible thing to do. I’m better off writing and getting things done. That is exactly what what I’m doing.

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Neverwhere

June 01st, 2008 | Category: Opinions

Yesterday I finished Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. Basically, it’s a story of a man, Richard Mayhew, who after saving the life of a young girl, ends up being erased from existence in his own world and forced to journey to a parallel world. The girl’s name is Door, she’s from London Below, a shadow version of Richard’s London Above. After her entire family is murdered for reasons unknown to her, Door desperately flees her would-be assassins by opening a magical portal to London Above. Enter Richard, who happens upon Door bloodied and semi-conscious lying on the sidewalk near Richard’s flat. Nobody bothers to help her because people from London Below barely register in the minds of people from London Above. Yet, Richard can see her, which is the start of all his troubles.

Neverwhere is a great concept set in lush and interesting world. Unfortunately, Richard and Door are two astonishingly flat protagonists who pale in comparison to the book’s far more rich lesser characters. The story itself, while “fun,” is definitely a little formulaic. Luckily, Neverwhere is one of Gaiman’s first novels and they do get much better.

My current book is Chuck Palahniuk’s newly released Snuff.

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