Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Impossible Shot

Lately I've tried to be more of a "consider the reader" writer and less of a crazy fantasy snob. It probably has something to do with the awful, awful book I recently finished that flew across the room at least twice before landing, ruffled and much maligned, in the stack of read books on the top of the bookshelf.

Masquerading as a mystery story, this stupid mishmash of a cozy instead came across as the author's lame sermon on tolerance and supporting your friends and not denying your own uniqueness in favor of your own overblown sense of propriety. The main character was a doormat who was apparently cute when angry ('cause the men like 'em spunky and yet in their place) and possessed of a mysterious "empathy" that allowed her to sense...emotions? Ghosts? Who cares?

Despite being a MYSTERY, the main character didn't solve anything. Instead, the murderer murderously attacked her and spilled the impossible-to-solve plot (because all clues had been erased or completely ignored by those prejudiced but hot cops) just so the book could end.

This poor book was horrible. It made me angry. I've read drafts better than this tripe.

After finishing it and to clear the palate, I decide to take a break from plots and books and the like and clean the front room. (Anger has its uses.) To keep my blood pressure in line, I put in an old kd lang cd and was soothed by songs shuffling calmly from the dusty speakers.

Then came the song about growing up in Ontario. For some reason, the images bled across the living room like the watercolor illustrations in the books I used to read at my grandparents' house--the little Indian children growing up in the desert, the biographies of the pioneers, the fantastic Water Babies--and flashed into the fields outside of Port Arthur that passed by the windows of their great tan Buick as we traveled to visit cousins or other relatives. Wherever those memories live in my body, they were sieved up and served to me by the song about a place that I've never been.

The songwriter, the singer didn't aim at opening up my memories of summer trips; yet the song did just that. It made an impossible shot, threading the present roadblocks straight into the heart of the past.

While the tone deaf battering of the mystery story doesn't relate to my experience of the song at all, I find myself at once jealous of the song and fearful that I am instead the tone deaf author caterwauling against the silence.

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