Friday, August 8, 2014

Nightmares & Dreamscapes: The Beginning

I'm a really inconsistent blogger.

Seriously -- I'd love to blog more, but there are several reasons as to why that doesn't happen: a.) Work 2.) Class b.) Lack of motivation q.) Preferring writing fiction to blog-posts 5.) Feeling like I can't put into words what I would like to say anyway, and 3.) I'm not good at explaining my feelings, at least about books -- I prefer the joy of experiencing a good story to taking notes and trying to write a decent blog entry on my analysis of said story.

I've decided that's pretty darn dumb -- the last reason, that is. I think if I relax and let the words flow, all will be okay. I'm off work until Wednesday the 20th, so hopefully I'll be able to get some decent blogging in. So let's get this show on the road! 

I've been thinking about Stephen King -- even more than usual. I haven't really been reading his work as much lately aside from Mr. Mercedes and a re-read of Carrie. That's not me saying I'm tired of reading him (I'm not) -- I've just been branching out a bit. I've finally given his pal Peter Straub a chance and I NEED to cover one of his books here soon -- he's phenomenal! Still, I've been thinking about Stephen King a lot lately, namely his short stories. I've been meaning to re-read all of the collections, but I haven't actually done it yet. His short story collections, like almost everything else he's written over the years, are extraordinary. However, the short form requires getting a little used to. King's characters are so brilliantly drawn that when a story ends after only 30 or 40 pages, one can get a little disappointed, but, alas, a short story is just that -- short. Anyway, the topic of a book discussion club came up on the Stephen King boards I'm a member of, and the first book we'll be discussing is King's 1993 collection of stories, Nightmares & Dreamscapes.

 American hardcover edition

I'm not yet sure if we will be discussing a story a day or what, but tonight's discussion is King's introduction to the book and the first story, "Dolan's Cadillac." I'm pretty excited about the book club because, if I'm being honest, this is the only SK story collection I haven't read cover to cover. I've read maybe 2/3 of the stories, the introduction, and bits of a couple of the other stories. I've been meaning to read this collection in full for ages, but I've always had other books that demanded my attention too, so this one has always been on the back-burner. I suppose now's a good a time as any to finally read the entire thing, right? 

I have decided that with each story, I'll contribute to the SK board as well as post my more in-depth thoughts here. I think I'll have a lot to say about some of the stories, and maybe not so much to say about others.  Some stories might not even get a blog entry from me, because, if I remember correctly, there are a couple of clunkers in this collection. My opinion of those might change with a re-read and heck, maybe writing about those will be fun, too! After I've written about all the stories that I'm going to cover, I might write up a ranking of the stories, or an "in conclusion..." sort of thing. Who knows. Let's play it by ear, shall we? 

Nightmares & Dreamscapes author photo

I'm going to write about what I remember of the stories I've actually read. This part is mostly for me because these feelings are probably going to change after the upcoming read, but it'll be fun to look back and see how I felt before vs. how I felt after. 

From what I remember, "Dolan's Cadillac" is a good opener (but it's no "The Mist") -- it's very creepy albeit a bit over-long. Still, King writes revenge stories well. 
"The End of the Whole Mess" was really neat and way better than I expected it to be. The ending is rather sad, the relationship between the brothers is realistic, and the sci-fi aspect of the story is fascinating.
"Suffer the Little Children" is a story from early in King's career. It's quite possibly my favorite in the collection simply because it's so ballsy, paranoid, and horrifying -- just like the best of King's works. "Popsy" didn't really have any impact on me, but it was a decent way to pass the time, I suppose. 
I don't really remember much of "Chattery Teeth" except some guy (probably the protagonist?)  getting in a car-wreck. Wait, is he a truck-driver, or am I thinking of another story altogether? "Dedication" is, from what I remember, one of the best in the collection -- dedicated, hard-working mother and a writer. Two of the things King is best at writing! This is one is also delightfully disgusting, so I must admit I'm really looking forward to re-reading this story. 
"The Moving Finger" is a story that seems to get a bad wrap but I really enjoyed it. It's really paranoid (can't ya tell I love that in SK's writing?), but sadly I don't really remember too much about this one either except a guy peeing in his kitchen sink. 
"You Know They Got a Hell of a Band" is like "Children of the Corn" on a lot of pot. This one was fun to read, but that's probably because I'm a nut for classic rock. 
"The House on Maple Street" is one I simply don't have much to say about (yet) -- it's just a good story. I remember it being really solid, but that's all., I thought I had read more than that! Looks like I'll be experiencing a bunch of "new" King stories, which is A-okay with me. I'm off to finish Peter Straub's Julia and then re-read "Dolan's Cadillac." See you guys soon!

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