I woke up thinking about a scene I’d read years ago. It was in Stephen King’s The Stand. I don’t know if my dreaming brain was remembering it correctly. In it, Nick Andros and Jane Baker (the Sheriff’s wife) were essentially sitting shiva for her husband while he died.
“Mama! Fox is in the henhouse, Mama!” The Sheriff thrashed fretfully and moaned.
Do you remember how awful Captain Trips1 was? If I am recalling the statistics from the novel, it had a 98% mortality rate. Once you got it, you were almost certainly going to die.
I remember that scene being very powerful. I mean, it was not essential to the story in the grand scheme of things. And yet, it was absolutely crucial to the story in the way it set up the illness as a scythe that reaped through everyone – good and bad alike.
I didn’t know why that particular scene was in my head when I woke this morning. I mean, I haven’t read that book in years. And I certainly haven’t watched the movie(s).
I love you Mister King, but your books do not translate well to movies.
There is one exception. But only because Tim Curry was in it.
Nonetheless, I kept thinking about that scene on the way into work. I have an hour commute into work – at 5AM – and I have a LOT of mostly uninterrupted time to ruminate. Usually, I am contemplating why in the hell I am awake at such a crappy hour. But today I had this bit of book swirling in my brains.
I got all the way into work before I figured it out.
THIS. This right here. My brain was wanting me to think about books, again. Think about reading a scene and contemplate it from all angles; not just the wow, that’s so intense I love reading this what’s happening next angle, but the why is this such a good scene what is the author doing why is this character doing that why why? angle.
I think my brain wants me to write again.
And that is scary, friends.
My brain has been so damaged, so shredded for the past year that I haven’t written much of anything. Certainly no fiction, large or small has flown from the keyboard.
And now I have this overwhelming urge to read and analyze and think about characters and why why why.
I am afraid.
What if I start and it all dries up again?
What if I start and it doesn’t? What if I publish something here and it gets torn apart by the jackals?
Worse…what if I publish something and no one notices or cares?
Anxiety Brain, you are a treacherous cunt. But, I have to try. To not try, to give up before even attempting to reach out?
1 – The superflu from King’s book was called a variety of names, Captain Trips being the one that stands out in my memory. The virus took a hellish, fevered week to kill its victims.