October Reading: A Good Marriage

In the spirit of Halloween season, I’m doing a couple reviews, but not of anything new. These are my old standbys in the short story category.

I am a huge fan of Stephen King’s short stories/novellas. It might be fair to say I actually like those better than some of his longer works. Nothing beats the Dark Tower though.

However, for my first short story read, I’m looking at a story I enjoy reading because it asks the seminal question: How well do you really know the ones you love?

“A Good Marriage” is found in Full Dark, No Stars (2010). I personally loved all four of the stories in this volume, but found this one to be my favorite because of the central questions. Horror, to me, is always about the central question, usually a what if. Phrased as a What If, the central question of “A Good Marriage” is: What if you really didn’t know your husband as well as you think you do? The story is simple: a good wife in a pedestrian, even to the point of boring, marriage finds out she’s married to a serial killer masquerading as a good husband.

The first question is followed by a second: What does she do now? She cannot unsee or unknow what is placed before her. Therein lies the horror of the entire piece, the sudden awareness of everything having been a lie.

Recently I had a discussion with a friend regarding the unreliable narrator and how that works in fiction. Every good lie has an element of truth to it.

In the husband’s case, he wasn’t traveling to kill. He traveled for the coin/collectible business and the killing was a side hobby. He had every reason to be where he was, so she had no reason to question.

I suppose the question that follows is: What would you do if you found out someone you love was a brutal killer? Leave me a comment and let me know how you would handle it.

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In the Aftermath of DragonCon

DragonCon was a blast. I only really got two days out of the whole weekend, but it was a blast for me just the same. This year, I did more than I usually do, getting out and having more fun at the Con rather than just sitting around learning new things.

Not to say that learning new things is bad, just that I tend to use that as a reason not to get out and meet people. I met a lot of people. I enjoyed the company of some amazing folks I had already had the good fortune to meet at ConCarolinas. I did a few things I’ve never thought of doing, but decided I was going to do before I had a chance to talk myself out of them. The Miss Star Trek pageant being the big one.

All in all, an amazing weekend. Continue reading In the Aftermath of DragonCon

There is only During

I just turned 35. Another year. One more revolution around the sun. The usual jazz. I would say something about this year is different, but it’s actually the same and that’s a good thing when you think about it. I’m not creating something new specifically at this point because I’m already doing that. This will not be THE year I follow my dreams. I’m already doing that. Will there be things I do this year I’ve never done before? Absolutely. Yet that, in itself, is the same as last year. Different experiences, same MO.

In previous years, I have used my birthday as a respawn point. For those who aren’t up on the lingo, in gamer terms, respawning is coming back to life.  Usually with the implication you screwed up, died and thus need to not do what you just did, like walk into sniper fire.

I haven’t walked into sniper fire recently.
I do have habits I intend to change; however, I’m not using my birthday as a before/after. I’m just going to start on those when I get time. Right now is not the time. My life is currently in the early stages of developing into a thriller. There are bodies on the floor, the remains of a bomb everywhere and I’m playing detective to try to get ahead of the carnage. In the end, no one gets out alive, but I don’t intend to go any sooner than necessary.

I’ve gone to the doctor a lot lately. Having been the recipient of a less than optimal genetic hand, I have a number of issues I’m supposed to be medicated for. To say I have been a terrible patient would be an understatement. I consistently don’t show up for appointments, take or don’t take my medication when I feel like it, and do things I know are bad for me. Not gonna lie and say that’s about to change. Old habits die hard and they resurrect worse than the villain in a horror movie. Just when you think you’ve vanquished them, they come lurching from around the corner intent on dragging you back into the figurative darkness. So far though, I’m doing pretty good about going to my appointments. Next: Constant reminders that I feel fine BECAUSE of my medication not in spite of it. Almost anyone on maintenance medication has gone through this a few times. You take the meds. You feel better. You start to think you’re fine without it. You stop taking it. You still feel mostly fine, but you’re already in decline. You fall apart. You start it once more from the top.  Do you have a seat on this Ferris Wheel? I do. Mine’s got comfy cushions and a spangled cross-bar I’m on it so often. Someone asked me, “as smart as you are, knowing what you know, how do you keep doing this to yourself?” The answer is simply not-simple. I know and I know. Academically I know my medication is the reason I feel fine; however, I also know that I can do it without my medication. Toss in there the very American attitude of I can do it all by myself and you have non-compliance to medication directives.  It’s not about me being smart, it is about my feelings. Everyone has done something or another they head-smart knew was a terrible idea but heart-smart made sense at the time.

Me, my best friend and worst enemy. My birthday doesn’t mark my before and after. There is no before, there is no after, there is just during. During. Going forward and stepping back. Sometimes I’m with the music, sometimes I’m not.