Sunday, June 03, 2012

Driving, Reading and Re-Reading Runes and Yellow Wallpaper

The last few days, I've been driving across the Southeast by day and continuing my reading and re-reading of mystery and weird fiction by night. Planning a creative writing class has its perks.

The drive
As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm going to be teaching in Florida. Christine and I decided not to red line the car trip from Texas. We broke it up over a few days, a few hotels along the Gulf Coast and quite a few chain restaurants.

A long car journey  took me on more than a geographic trip. I went back in time a little, to vacations of my youth, with my old man at the wheel of  a series of Fords.

Christine and I took a different tunnel under the Mobile River than my folks did in the sixties, but I recalled the thrill of the old days as we took the plunge then drove the bridge across Mobile Bay.

I kept thinking of my parents and their era as we drove. Destin was the destination in the old days, a vacation spot with beaches and Western ghost towns as well. How did that get to be so long ago?

Christine and I drove further, through some of the mid-week storms in fact. The Florida panhandle sure is long, but overall we had fun.

The reading
I've been re-visiting, or in some cases visiting, some of the genre classics. I won't be using each and every one for class, but I wanted to make sure I was well versed in some of the seminal pieces.

Those took me back as well.

I don't remember when I first read "Casting the Runes" by M.R. James, but it was a great one to delve into again. Re-reading removed some of the blur from various old time radio adaptations I've listened to since we got the Internet, and since I first saw Curse of the Demon, Jacques Tourneur's tampered-with masterpiece.

The original tale makes clear how perfect the film would have been without the tacked-on creature, who always looked cross-eyed to me when I encountered his features in Famous Monsters of Filmland, long before I got to see the film.

I'm not sure I'd ever read "The Yellow Wallpaper," though I've listened to various audio versions over time.

Engaging with the words allows a  better immersion into the narrator's madness, I believe, and I picked up a bit of trivia. Character actor Silas Weir Mitchell of "My Name is Earl" and "Grimm" is apparently named after his ancestor -- the doctor whose treatment methods Charlotte Perkins Gilman was attempting to influence in penning "Yellow Wallpaper."

All in all, it's been an interesting few days, and the journey continues.


Charles Gramlich said...

sounds like more than one kind of journey going on.

Sidney said...

Yes, I'm following a lot of paths.

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