Thursday, 30 August 2012

Something Ominous This Way Comes

The Secret To Love

What makes a good marriage? A great love? 

I was watching 'Boss' today, an American TV show about the Mayor of Chicago. The Mayor is suffering from a terminal illness and has been seeing a doctor. His wife asks him who the doctor is. To cover up the true reason he responds, "Since when have you ever cared where I put it?" She leaves. Watching that scene I sat there, starstruck. To cover up his illness he tells her he's cheating. She does nothing. They exist in a fake marriage, a portrait of supposed 'happiness'. 

Literature and cinema is filled with relationships - bad ones, great ones, ones that go through a lot of trouble and then are happy in the end. But what makes them good? We've all been through shitty relationships, all been through tough times, all experienced love for another person, the kind of love that sends you crying into your pillow at night or ready to vomit into the toilet. We've all experienced it or, if you haven't, you're lucky. 

A friend of mine told me about her latest relationship. I witnessed as they texted each other telling one another how much they missed each other, calling each other 'hon' and 'lovely' and 'beautiful'. That's one way, right? I knew a guy who had a relationship. In his relationship he would only say "I love you" when he meant it and when the person said it to him first they agreed they would never say it back straightaway. "I love you," "I love you too." They agreed it lost it's meaning. When you run out of the door and shout "love you!" or kiss good night and, as you make your pillow comfortable say "love you," it all lost meaning. My point is that in different relationships there are different rules, that's why there are different reasons why they end. 

Sometimes, the ending of a relationship is based solely on one person - Madame Bovary, for example, a book I have yet to read but shall, is all about her unhappiness with her life, that's why she has her affairs. Indeed her husband is to blame but it is her un-williness to go on this 'perfect life' that makes her do what she does. 

Tom Perrotta's 'Little Children' is the same - two people that are trapped in their marriages and their lives that find each other and have this dysfunctional relationship. Dysfunctional. Aren't most relationships dysfunctional in their own way? Then again, I met a woman in America who has been with her husband since she was nineteen. They seem perfectly happy, they laugh over minor things, discuss food as they eat food, talk about their days, she reads through his text messages, he hers, there is no privacy, no break. And yet they're happy? Well, maybe they're pretending. We all pretend we're happy, right? I don't know. Witnessing it baffled me. I was a bit lost when I saw the so-called happiness wonder around the room. What's their secret? Silence? A subdued lifestyle?

I spend a lot of time pondering over love - love has taken over not just my thoughts but my writing. I'm working on two short stories at the moment, one called 'To Love and To Cherish' about a man who plans to murder his wife and an untitled story about a young, seemingly happy couple, in bed talking. Will either end happily? Probably not. 

Last night my friend said to me "why don't you write a happy ending for once? Make your lovers happy together!" I shrugged and said "no." "Why?" she asked. "Because that's not real life," I replied. 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

What We Call Mega Lols

Horror: The Dying Art?

"It's been a while, old friend." I feel like I need to say that before I start this blog post because it has, indeed, been a while since I've sat down, at a desk, and stared at the screen with the intention of writing a blog post about what I love the most - reading and writing. It's been a terrific summer. I've taught creative writing, sat around tables and discussed film scripts and characters, given feedback, asked to show my own work, visited ten states in America, met wonderful people, seen amazing things and now I'm back at home, currently sat in my parent's living room listening to "Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down" writing this post, thinking about past conversations and future stories. I haven't neglected my writing as much as I have this blog - in fact I have written three short stories over the summer, the odd poem and edited quite a bit but now it's time to return. 

Yesterday my mother said something horrific to me. She said, "I read somewhere horror stories are hard to publish. People just don't want to read them anymore." Is this true? I think it is for the first half, maybe not the second. People always want to be scared, people love to read about the cliche horror as well as the new types. What is true, however, is that horror seems to use old ideas and reform them - especially in films. Horror films consist of remakes, sequels, prequels, continuous revisits to the same characters, the same places because there is a lack of imagination. Of course 'Saw' came along and we had a new kind of horror - the torture porn indeed reinforced but it was new, fresh, I liked it. But then they said they were making a number four, then five and we got bored.

What now? A film about exorcisms - another girl wondering why demons are inside her, breaking her bones, mumbling in foreign languages. Then what? A haunted supermarket? Ghosts coming back from the dead? I'm not, for a moment, suggesting that any horror I write - I intend to for my dissertation this year - is a genius idea, in fact horror is a very tricky place to venture into. Horror is scary. I fear that it is dying out, that the lack of imagination is making it hard for horror to expand and grow, instead people are returning to old films - not a bad thing, some films from the seventies and eighties are the best horror films I've seen.

When we come to horror literature, on the other hand, we get into muddier and murkier water. Of course there's the two big horror writers of our time - Stephen King and Peter Straub - and there's the older writers - the great Edgar Allan Poe being my favourite. I am, in fact, taking a Gothic literature module this year in my final year of Uni - scary! - which will reinforce my mind. 

Just a scatter of thoughts today, my worries and concerns on a genre I would, one day, like to go into. Is it dying? Quite possibly. Do people want to read it? Only if there's something good to read. And there will be, soon, right?