This blog is late.
It’s late for two reasons
It’s my birthday MONTH! I’m turning 25 again. I’ve been busy making myself cakes and going to painting classes (no kidding!) and in general making such a fuss over myself I haven’t had time to think about what to write.
Dean Koontz has another book out and EVERY SINGLE MOMENT I have free has been spent reading ‘The Silent Corner.’ If I could have multitasked by showering and catching up on a few pages and not ruining the book, I would have.
I have a love/surprise relationship with Dean Koontz novels. I started reading them when we still lived on Ryan Road. (A looooong time ago!) Dad had brought them home from work because he was reading them. Which is strange now that I think about it because he doesn’t really read anything other than westerns, usually.
I digress. I read ‘Dragon Tears’ maybe? And was hooked. I remember I read a Stephen King novel around the same time and I couldn’t help but compare the two, as they were both technically ‘horror’. But Dean’s novel was so much more than that. It was scary, yes, but it was also beautiful, and poignant. It was dark but with ribbons of light and humor and hope that were all the brighter because of the shadowy events that occurred in the story.
All that to say, when I was 15 or 16 and reading both Stephen King and Dean Koontz for the first time I realized that I wanted, as a writer, and what I didn’t. (I was a serious writer at 15 you know…I get less serious about it the older I get.)
I even made myself a little plaque to hang above my computer which I’ve since lost but it read something like ‘The monsters will never win in my stories. Justice will prevail, goodness is more powerful than the vilest evil, blah blah, blah, lots of pretentious verbiage, etc, you get the picture.
It made me feel less silly to hope for miracles, and to believe in things I couldn’t see but could feel. (Like God, and intuition, and gifts like discernment and other non-corporeal things).
So now you know how important these books were to me, and even, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say, helped form my very character. Or at least, encourage it in the direction it was already going. Anyone who knows me well knows I was also facing my own death at this time. So, lots of ‘big’ questions swirling around my soft teenage head. Questions these books seemed to ask and answer, all the while entertaining me mightily.
And now. I’m turning 25 (again for the 12th time) and I’m reading his newest novel and I love it but, like an old friend you haven’t seen in awhile, you realize if you met them RIGHT NOW, and you didn’t know their history and already love them, you might not be friends with them. At least, not close friends. You realize they hold opinions and beliefs that you don’t share, that you even (maybe aggressively) disagree with.
Or maybe it’s just little things that tweak me the wrong way. I’ll give one example and then I’ll wrap up - you’re busy. I was watching al old Kirk Douglas movie while trying to get Benji to sleep last night and one of the characters kept referring to ‘that girl’. ‘The girl’ is coming to dinner. I pictured a 10 year old girl and didn’t realize it until it panned to ‘the girl’ and it was a 30 year old WOMAN. I was confused. That isn’t a girl, that’s a woman. What are they talking about?
I didn’t think anything more of it until, in this newest novel, there is a scene where a kindly older character refers to the main character as ‘ the girl with eyes as blue as the sky’ and then apologizes later saying some people (obviously boorish and vapid and full of themselves) that would feign offense at him calling her ‘a girl’. She agrees. Political correctness run amuck, she says. (Paraphrasing)
And so, yes, and no. The character in the book is no more a ‘girl’ than my almost 50 year old husband would ever be called ‘a boy’.
“Let’s invite that boy to supper!” Said no one, ever, about a grown man. Unless it’s the south and he’s black and it’s derogatory.
So, things like that where on the surface I agree, but then in reality, no, it ISN’T ok, and yes, it IS annoying. Unless you call all men boys and all women girls than, ok, call me a girl. But there are connotations and assumptions when you say ‘girl’. Sweet. Little. Quiet. Innocent. Helpless.
Which I think we can all agree, most of the women in our lives, the real ones, and the character in his newest novel, are not.
So, anyway, there’s that. I will still buy anything he ever writes, in hardcover, because his writing is captivating and beautiful and makes me sit on the edge of my seat and bite my nails, makes me laugh and cry, shudder with horror and grin with delight. And I have hope. I’ll end with one of my favorite Dean Koontz quotes:
“If there’s cake, there’s hope. And there’s always cake.” Dean Koontz.