So, here we are again. That time of year when we’re supposed to make resolutions for the coming twelve-months. Newspapers and magazine shows love it—it gives them an excuse to run stories on weight-loss programs and basket-weaving classes, the kind of stuff that doesn’t require…well, anything in the way of actual reporting. I’ve always sort of wondered who these people are, the ones who make solemn promises about the year to come, but now I have joined their ranks. Not to lose weight, or improve myself in some unattainable way, but recapture something that I lost somewhere along the road from then to now.
So there I was, perusing my bookshelves the other day (as you do) looking for something to read, when I happened upon a little tome that was way off the beaten track for me when I first received it, but turned out to be one of my favorite reads ever, and it occurred to me that sometimes it’s not the shelves and shelves of similarly-themed stories that reveal who we are or make the greatest impression upon us, but those books that are a foray into the less frequented parts of the forest.
There’s nothing quite like a good ghost story. Good ones can send a shiver up your spine and have you checking under the bed before you turn out the light, but the truly great provide more than a brief frisson they leave us with a sense of melancholic wonder and burrow into our imaginations forever.
It’s an eternal question, isn’t it? “Where do you get your ideas?” Sometimes the word “ideas” is replaced by “inspiration,” which really has a completely different meaning, but they’re usually used interchangeably anyway. “Ideas” has a good solid feel to it, like you’re Newton sitting under an apple tree in autumn. “Inspiration,” on the other hand, implies something more otherworldly. You know, like there you are, minding your own business, watching something worthless on the TV, when the screen turns misty and reality itself seems in flux, as the gods of storytelling descend on a cloud of ancient typewriters, inkwells and parchment and whisper in your ear, “You might try something about vampires, you know.” And then vanish before you can mention that they seem to be a bit out of touch and the living dead have been kind of done to er death.
Actually, that makes the Gods of Storytelling sound a bit useless and rather like the Gnat in Through the Looking Glass, but you get my drift.
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