Guest Blog: Lee Thompson
Thanks to Graeme for having me and to all who read!
I envy people who got an early start with books and a hunger for writing shortly after. But it’s probably nothing more than worrying about wasted time (something I make an obsessive stance against). I don’t like to think about all the stories I could have written from then to now. But hell, better late to the game than never. What I do remember loving as a kid was cartoons, and as a teen and young adult was movies, and most of all living (though I did that poorly since I grew up surrounded by farms and I was an angry and reckless kid.) But I’ve lived a lot as an adult and I’ve been reading and hungry for great stories, and when I find them I’ve found satisfaction.
For someone else to touch us like that.
What’s the point of living if we don’t learn sometimes, don’t teach other times, and just be ourselves whether people accept us or not? I think these books strip away the mask. There’s a transparency in these characters and stories that if studied is breathtaking.
Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. Right, I know it’s basically a kid’s book and I didn’t read it until I was thirty, but I don’t give a shit. It’s got heart, it’s got truth, the terror of transition (and yet how necessary transitions are), of growing up too quickly, and all the weight of the universe shifting. I love that. It resonates.
Tom Piccirilli’s A Choir of Ill Children. I love all of Pic’s work, but this one especially because it was my introduction to his style. His imagination is astounding, his prose a punch in the gut and kiss on the lips at the same time, and I’ve read this book several times, and still I marvel.
Greg Gifune’s The Bleeding Season. Another author I think everyone should read. And another introduction that showed me that fiction can be deep and steeped in our most human moments even amidst chaos. (Maybe especially then.)
Peter Straub’s Shadowland. My introduction to Mr. Straub, and what a fine one it was. I remember staying up late, my skin chilled, and my mouth full of blood. I think coming of age tales by talented writers are a knife in the heart because we’re all coming of age tales, right now, at this moment. We’re still growing, still learning to cope, still searching for our identities and our place in a world so bright one moment, so dark the next.
Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door. Wow. Ketchum is incredible. The themes running through this book are mind numbing and eye opening. It’s a creator’s dream to write a book that has this kind of power.
Hmmm… these are all very different books. Good. We like variety here. We have to know what moves us and draw from that to move others. Not just surface chills, but deep down shudders. Truth. Joy. Defeat. The pain that comes when every breath makes our chest ache, and the joy that arrives when life is smoother sailing. Appreciate the good times. Appreciate good stories that shine a light on what we are, what we want to become, and what we don’t. Because sometimes we’re teetering on the edge of the abyss and it’s a fall that never ends.
Don’t lose the magic you had as a kid. If you have, find it. It’s life’s nectar. It’s the potion that keeps us from becoming too old, too fast, and it’s a breaker wall to the pessimistic tide of all that’s wrong in the world and us.