Monday morning of Malice week. Ugh, all the little things one has to do to get ready for traveling. Make a list of what to pack, take inventory of the kitchen to make sure Paul has what he needs while I’m gone, and so on and so forth. Heavy heaving sigh. But my flight Thursday isn’t super early; eleven-ish, if I recall correctly, which means I don’t have to be at the airport until around nine, which isn’t bad. I’m going to take some books with me to read for pleasure at the airports and while in flight; I will be editing when I can in my room periodically trying to get this revision finished by the end of the month. The weekend wasn’t nearly as productive as it could have been–there was another wave of depression and grief to be gotten through this weekend, unfortunately–but I did make some progress, which I am taking as a win. I did also make a to-do list for the week; that should help in some ways.
We watched A Knock at the Cabin last night, which I enjoyed; a lot more than I usually enjoy an M. Night Shyamalan movie. I had also enjoyed the book on which it was based, The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay, who is one of our best horror writers today; I’ve enjoyed everything of his I’ve read thus far. The film follows the book very closely; it’s one of those claustrophobic horror stories where some city folk take a vacation in the country at a remote cabin–but remote and country are very much staples of horror; someone really should do a look at the trope of “city folk in the country” horror–and things of course go very south. The film is very well cast; Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge play Eric and Andrew, a gay couple who’ve adopted a young Asian girl they’ve named Wen and they make an adorable little family group. The location of the cabin is idyllic and tranquil and beautiful; the perfect spot for some city folk who want to get away from the every day and rest and relax. Wen collects grasshoppers in a jar because she wants to study them; the movie opens with her catching grasshoppers and then catching a glimpse of a very big man coming through the woods to talk to her. This is Leonard, played very well by Dave Bautista, who is the leader of a group of four people who have seen visions and have concluded that in order to stop the apocalyptic end of the world, they must come to this cabin and present the family with a horrible choice: they have to sacrifice one of their own in order to stop the end of the world. Are they crazy? They sound like it, as they try to reason with the family…but what if they aren’t? The movie’s ending is different than the book’s–there was no way they could film the book’s ending, really–but I do prefer the book’s ending than the film’s; it seemed like the inevitable outcome, and made the most sense. It’s a good movie, I do recommend it, but one thing I’ve always been curious about since reading the book and was only heightened by viewing the film: why a gay family? I gave Tremblay props when I read the book, because they were very real and didn’t seem forced or stereotypical at all; I thought it should stand as an excellent example of someone who is not gay writing gay characters. The politics of the representation–gays in peril–is one I am not going to give any time to; sure, the gay family was in danger almost from the minute the credits rolled, and it was nice having a gay couple to root for in a horror film. Horror by its very nature is disturbing and tragic; you cannot have gay representation in horror and then not expect the gay people to go through some things, you know? And having gay characters also adds another dimension to the home invasion situation–are they crazy, are they telling the truth, or did they target a gay family purposely? There’s an essay to be written about the book and the movie from a sociopolitical and sociocultural perspective, but I don’t know that I am the right person to write such a thing; I’m not an academic, after all, and have very little desire to ever be an academic.,.although that sometimes can explain my insecurities about thinking deep and heavy thoughts and wanting to write deep and heavy essays picking apart and deconstructing gay representation in modern fiction, with an emphasis on horror and crime.
I also read some academic treatises this weekend, one about being gay and the gay rights movement’s intersectionality and how it got away from that in the beginning only to circle back around to it in the present day, and the other about the television show Dark Shadows, which probably had more influence on me, my writing, and my preferences when it comes to reading, film, and television than anything else I’ve watched or read in my life. I know I used to watch classic black and white films with my grandmother (she was a big fan of the gay icons, ironically: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, and Katharine Hepburn; she also liked horror and noir, and she was a fan of Dark Shadows, as was our babysitter down the street, Mrs. Harris), so pretty much my course was set when I was a little boy–gay writer was my future. I should write more about Dark Shadows–I was actually thinking last night that I should write a memoir of being a writer; my influences and how they shaped my creativity and what I actually write–not that anyone would be interested in reading such a thing, of course; which is partly why I don’t write more personal essays. Just as I’ve never really been interested in writing a writing manual, or one of those Greg Herren teaches you how to write a novel things. I always feel like a fraud when I talk about writing; never does my Imposter Syndrome strike as hard as it does when I am talking about writing or teaching a workshop. I don’t know.
It’s back into the office with me today. It’s a light day for me; mostly busy work, like data entry, filing, resupplying testing rooms, that sort of thing. It’s always nice to ease back into the week with an easy day in the office. It’s also weird to know that I am leaving on Thursday morning; the trip doesn’t seem real to me yet even though I’ve already made plans to meet up with people while I am there. Looks like I’m going to have to take a Lyft or an Uber from the airport once there, which is fine. And then of course when I get home I have to make up for lost time with the manuscript. Heavy heaving sigh. It wasn’t a good weekend for working, really; I kept spiraling and had to finally, on both days, remind myself that my mental health was more important than a deadline and so focused on positivity and and worked when I was able to get things done. The house isn’t nearly in the kind of shape I would like for it to be in when I am leaving for a weekend (two in a row; the next weekend I am off to Alabama) but seriously–when is it ever? I just need to make sure everything is in order before I go away on Thursday morning. Heavy heaving sigh.
And my books that I’ll be taking to read with me are going to be That Summer Night on Frenchmen Street, Wined and Died in La,, Let Me Die in His Footsteps, and Monday’s Lie. I am not going to get through all of these, of course; I may even cut it down to two–like I won’t be buying books in the book room, please–and I will also be working on the revision while I am there, too. (I so wanted to be finished before I leave…)
And on that note, I am going to get cleaned up and head into the office. Have a lovely Monday, Constant Reader, and I will check in with you again tomorrow.