Horror fiction almost never works for me. This is because I almost never feel pleasurably scared by fiction, so all I'm left with is getting grossed out. (I don't much feel pleasurably scared in real life; don't try me on surprise parties or roller coasters.) I liked Cabin in the Woods quite a bit, but it may be the only horror movie I've ever enjoyed, and it's pretty much a critique of horror movie tropes all the way through. I most likely would have never given Night Vale a chance except that lots of people were selling it as not a horror podcast, but a humor podcast set in a horror universe.
But Welcome to Night Vale is frightening to me.
Sometimes in a pleasurable way; more often in a "I feel deeply unsettled about the entire universe and my place in it" kind of way.
I loved The X-Files when I was in high school, but it was always just fun for me -- I was too young to remember much of the Cold War, and the development of my political consciousness took place during the Bill Clinton presidency. I grew up thinking that your government might be immoral or embarrassing, and your government might have weird minor scandals, but it was all in a benign sort of way, and they were probably not competent enough to do a good job covering anything up. (I realize that for some families more right-wing than mine, Ruby Ridge and the various conspiracy theories around the Clinton administration were a big deal. But this definitely was not true inside my own little bubble.)
And so it wasn't until I was older that I started to get a sense that the government of the developed democratic country I lived in was a government that would torture people, that would ship people off to places where torture was practiced. This is a government that will kill people with drone strikes. This is a government that has the power to spy on a heck of a lot of your communications.
And I put that out of my mind, because life goes on, and I shop for groceries and go to the library and listen to NPR, because the coulds and the mights are quite far from everyday life -- though sometimes I'd listen to how they wouldn't spy on U.S. citizens, and I'd be forcibly reminded that I'm not a citizen. But there's a deep uneasiness somewhere beneath there.
That's what's much more frightening than the glow cloud or the feral dogs. It's how Night Vale is a place where horrible, horrible things happen, and the government is corrupt and power-mad and there is nothing you can do but paper over it and keep going.
I'm really not a conspiracy theorist. And I really don't think that the U.S. government is anywhere near as evil as, say, the Sheriff's Secret Police. But I'm left with a lingering sense of helplessness in the face of indifferent, and sometimes actively malevolent, bureaucracy. The government that blithely insists that the feral dogs were actually nothing but plastic bags, and nobody really got hurt, seems frighteningly plausible even if the feral dogs themselves do not. The horrible things that get papered over, not necessarily with conspiracy but with indifference and a "Look! Shiny!" news cycle, are too real.
And still we go on living in this world, turning on public radio while driving home with the groceries.
This entry is also posted at http://owlectomy.dreamwidth.org/322002.h
1. Who was your best friend?
Probably Kelly. We didn't talk a whole lot but I really liked her and she was so nice to me. I didn't really have a best best friend since I was so self-conscious and afraid of rejection.
2. What sports did you play?
Ha ha! Jumping to conclusions.
3. What kind of car did you drive?
A 1976 Toyota Corolla station wagon, but being a Toyota it was a short one.
4. It's Friday night, where were you?
At home trying to write something, or listening to the radio. Or practicing hymns at church, or figuring out new registrations for the organ and figuring out how to play it.
5. Were you a party animal?
Ha ha ha! No.
6. Were you considered a flirt?
Like I talked to people!
7. Ever skip school?
Nope. I was scared that something terrible would happen if I did and I would be banned for life, or some damn thing.
9. Were you a nerd?
I was a band geek, playing bass clarinet, piano, organ, tenor sax (briefly), and singing alto. Does that count?
10. Ever get suspended/expelled?
No. I did get into a fight with a girl in the library once, though. She was saying mean things to me, and I think I was leaving, but then this troublemaker kid threw gum in my hair, and I thought she did it, so I rushed her and the next thing I knew I was in a headlock. But I didn't get suspended, probably because I had no record.
11. Can you sing the Alma mater?
Yes, all of it.
12. Who was your favorite teacher?
Mrs. Tucker, my English teacher. She'd read my stories and share Tennyson and other good writers with me. She always had time to talk. So maybe she was my best friend.
13. Favorite class?
Band. Also English Lit was fun. I could recite the beginning of Canterbury Tales in Middle English (I'd recorded Garrison Keillor reciting it on "A Prairie Home Companion" during one of his monologues and got the text and learned how to do it.). And lit was just my thing. Also Myth and Novel with Mrs. Tucker. Man I liked her so much.
14. Did you go to Prom?
No. Like I'd go to a dance, or go out with boys. And paying MONEY to go to a dance? Are you kidding? What's the big deal about prom, anyway? I didn't miss it. I was like a nun or something.
15. If you could go back and do it over, would you?
You know, I say no -- but then again, I want to, because I'd like to know how much I'm getting right about myself as a high schooler in my stories and where I'm off the mark. I feel like there's so much I'm forgetting about being a high schooler, and I wish I could go back and relive it. But then I'd be violating the Prime Directive and changing everything based on what I've learned since then. Shoot, I could go back and shout down those girls who used to give me hell in gym class, and I'd go to the people who wanted friends and befriend them and start a writer's group, and I'd come right out and tell my man that I was really interested in him, but I'd still write him letters. So hell yeah I'd go back!
16. Were you ever posted up on the senior wall?
17. Did you have a job?
I delivered the newspaper every morning to the residents of Nodaway. About 16 people. I did that since 1983-4. Senior year I got a job at the greenhouse, planting marigolds, tomatoes, and petunias and watering stuff.
18. Whom did you date?
I didn't date anybody, not until I started college. But I did fall in love with a few people. But I fell in love with this one guy on 31 March 1988, just before he graduated, so I visited him at Wal-Mart and wrote him letters. Finally he figured out what was up. We got married in 1995, so that worked out.
19. Where did you go most often for lunch?
I'd eat real fast in the cafeteria, then run over to the library and read.
20. Who was your crush?
I had a crush on several guys over the years. One was a exchange student from Sweden, one was a nice ag student, one was my man, one was a nice dark-haired guy. Of course I am not naming names, are you kidding?
21. When did you graduate?
1989! It didn't suck.
Do you want to do this meme? Knock yourself out. Not literally, of course, for that would hurt.
- Current Music:"The Promise" -- Wind in Rome
Happy Friday before Christmas!
I’m excited to announce that the print version of Surfacing (Swans Landing #1) is now available to purchase! Just click on the link below to buy a copy.
All of these are true: 55 Things Only ’90s Teenage Girls Can Understand
I came across this on Pinterest: The Documented Life Project. It was good timing for me because I had just come across my old journals in my computer room closet the other day and was wondering why I didn’t journal anymore. I like that this is a cross between a planner and a journal. I can keep track of appointments, birthdays, etc. in the calendar pages, and then also journal thoughts, ideas, and project notes in the other pages. So expect more on this project coming soon! I’m getting my journal/planner ready and am eager to start.
2. It's been balmy all week -- until last night. This morning, we woke to frost and coooold:
3. My dad's birthday is on Christmas Day (he'll be 71), and we're getting together with him and my mom (and my brother's family) tomorrow night to celebrate. Their favorite Mexican restaurant is closing (sigh), and tomorrow night is their last weekend -- so we're going there, and then we'll walk downtown and look at the colorful lights. It's been something of a tradition, and it's nice to have that time with my dad as the 'focus.'
4. My printer died this week...thankfully, we have a spare (one which came with another computer) -- I don't know how good it is, but it's going to have to do for the last bit of the calendars I'm printing (I have December and 1/3 of November to print). Fun times. :)
What are you doing for Solstice, Yule, or any other holidays falling during the end of 2013?
In you, and scrawled their manuscript!
Have shared their secrets, told their cares,
Their curious and quaint affairs!
Your pool of ink, your scratchy pen,
Have moved the lives of unborn men,
And watched young people, breathing hard,
Put Heaven on a postal card.
- To a Post-Office Inkwell by Christopher Morley
View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.
View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.
Learn more about Poetry Friday.
- Current Mood: grateful
- Current Music:These Shoes by Maria Mena
We spent the first three days in the Peak District, and one busy day we shared a turkey & cranberry pasty in the quiet yard of Bakewell Parish Church. Afterwards we peeked inside and were surprised to find a busy project underway that involved lining the walls with lighted Christmas trees. It was so beautiful, and this picture just doesn't do it justice.
As soon as we'd moved on to London, Steve made it a priority to visit Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland. His favorite part was eating. Mine was watching the ice skaters. (Though I rather liked my banana & Nutella crepe, too!)
Here's the view along Regent's street. It's hard to beat London for Christmas light displays!
A return to Royal Albert Hall was certainly in order. Judging by my big ol' goober grin, I guess we were pretty jazzed by the Christmas carols and excerpts from Handel's Messiah.
Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral was quite an interesting experience, but my favorite part was exploring all the cathedral's nooks and crannies afterwards.
Bonus shot: The moon at Chatsworth.
Next week -- tea at The Savoy and Narnia at Chatsworth!
Luckily, a higher authority has already stepped in to make the better decision.
Last night, Father Christmas himself (in his avatar as a small Santa statuette that sits on our dining table during December) actually spoke to me, using MrD as his interpreter!
"Mummy," said MrD, holding up the statuette, "Father Christmas says from now until Christmas, you should write a little bit of Badger Bandits every day!"
Well. I am not fool enough to argue with Santa Claus! Especially when he gives such good advice. (Because as everyone in this house knows, MrD will be getting The Desperate Adventures of the Badger Bandits - a brand-new chapter book written just for him - as a present under the tree on Christmas Day...but only if I finish it on time!)
So. Latte up! Soundtrack* on! Time to write.
Thanks, Santa! ;)
*"The Great Fantasy Adventure Album", by the Cincinnati Pops. Perfect badger bandit music!
Look for your copy of INDELIBLE winging its way to you in time for milk and cookies under the festooned tree!
Secondly, I am going offline as I delve into the latest project that I can't wait to share, but alas, can't share now. When I return, I am uncertain whether I will keep mirror-posting to Livejournal because while I love my LJ community, the erratic and spamtastic service since the hand-off has been a major deterrent. I am investing other fun possibilities, but you can always find me on my website at www.dawnmetcalf.com!
So, in advance of diving into the writing cave, I'd like to wish everyone Happy Holidays and a healthy, happy and abundant New Year filled with every joy and success.
sparkly photo by Anna Langova
All the very best,