Sunday, May 01, 2005

Who screamed?

It's Sunday and I worked last night so I felt entitled to a day of dozing and reading. Between snoozes I have been visiting Australia with Bill Bryson In a Sunburned Country. Like most Sundays when I feel lazy and there is no one to help me quench my erotic fires, I read, doze, read some more, answer nature's call when absolutely necessary and snack in bed. Probably why I don't have anyone to quench my erotic fires, but they shouldn't knock it until they try it. I'm getting off topic. Back to the snoozing and reading.

I dozed off again somewhere around Adelaide and its beautiful parks and idyllic streets when I was awakened by a shrill scream. I don't think it was me. It sounded so close, so much like a soul in dire peril. I went from warmly snoozing and floating on sun bright images to wide awake, mind churning, gut wrenching attention.

Outside frosted tree limbs tiredly drooped under a heavy white burden and the steady drip, drip of melting snow on the roof rained past my bedroom window as it looks out onto more trees with more frosting and a weakly lit dead white sky where what sunlight broke through the clouds sparkled off rainbow gems of snow melt caught between pine needles before they shattered in prismatic falls of broken jeweled light. No errant tracks in the snow or furtive shadows peering from behind tree trunks or car or corners of the house. Nothing. No one.

As I headed back to the warm nest of tumbled sheets and fake fur cover, a slow banshee wail spiraled down from above me, getting louder and higher pitched as it came nearer. It was the scream of heavy snow clinging with crystalline fingernails to the tin roof as it avalanched from the peak to the mountain of snow piling up beneath my bedroom window. It was time to get up and stay up even though I'd rather slide back under the covers and slip back into Adelaide and all points Australian.

Most of the email, as always, was spam, but a few messages were worth reading. I loaded more of my CDs onto the hard drive and listened to Gloria Estefan, Pat Benatar, and some really old nostalgic music from my younger days. Finished reading an article on writing slipstream, which I'm not quite sure I quite get, but I'm figuring it out. I agree with some of the choices, but not all of them. Slipstream seems to be a slippery not-quite-genre slope. I read an LJ post about lilies of the valley and that reminds of glycosides and the poison that lurks in those delicate little white bells and green stems, which reminds me of White Oleander starring Michelle Pfeiffer and murder and anger and what to do about it.

I don't do anger. I don't do vengeance. I don't do vendettas or make elaborate plans to get even with people. I don't have the time or the energy I want to waste on such pursuits. I used to blow up in one spectacular explosion and after that I was fine. I don't waste energy that way any more. But somewhere in my mind is a little dark room full of murderous thoughts and schemes and plans that fester into story ideas. Little ideas and plots in that room wait for just the right method or idea to mate and bear fruit in dark and insidious ways. One of those was the bittersweet brownie story. There have been others.

Movies like Gaslight with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman and The Life and Loves of a She Devil, and even Basic Instinct, gave me ideas that blossomed into stories. Movies and books like that have taught me that it is better to use a poison pen on someone than to actually murder them. That way you can keep murdering them to your heart's content.

I'm not a murderous type. I could tell you stories of just how murderous I am not. However, every once in a while a fleeting thought will slip through the keyhole in that dark room and give birth to nastiness. I highly recommend having such a room where you can play with your darkest fantasies and maybe even earn a little money in the process. I know Alfred Hitchcock had such a dark room, but his was much bigger. Horror writers have those dark little rooms and so do writers who specialize in murder mysteries. And it's not just writers. Think of all the directors who create such dark fare, sometimes improving on a writer's dark vision with an even greater darkness of their own.

That dark little room isn't just for writers and directors and actors who get to carry out the bloody plots, but for anyone who has been angry at someone and wanted to get even. Put it on paper. Play in the dark room and give your enemies and adversaries what you feel they deserve. Just remember to close and lock the door when you're through. There are some visions that are meant to remain in the dark and not see the light of day. One thing is certain, killing off your enemies on paper can make you feel a whole lot better, and by letting them live another day you can kill them again as often as you like without anyone ever knowing. Your hands stay clean and you never have to worry about getting caught and it helps to purge the negativity and demons that shatter your contentment. Works for me.

Unpleasant nightmares.

No comments: