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Showing posts from November, 2012

James Baldwin

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I stumbled on James Baldwin by accident. More than 20 years ago. So I neither knew nor cared about his politics or his sexual orientation. All I knew after 30 or 40 pages into his novel Giovanni’s Room was that I’d found a gifted writer. That last detail – the writing quality – is all that matters to me when selecting what books to read. Now, 20 years later, a Wikipedia search reveals all kinds of curiosities about the writer, nothing that changes my impression of his stellar writing ability, but certainly details that must’ve been hardships for him growing up in Harlem in the 1950s. I say ‘hardships’ but it might be just as valid to say ‘catalysts’ for his works. African-American, gay, a Pentecostal preacher who later rejects faith yet never quite affirms atheism, recognizes that religion both influenced his writing and inspired some African-Americans to defy oppression, and yet embraces a lifestyle religion condemns, and so on. As conflicted as his life must’ve been, so are his char…

Trick, Treat, or the Gothic Novel

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Halloween came and went without me having to deal with a single child. The candy, the costumes, the high-pitched noisy monsters – none of it interrupted my daily life of self-absorption and misanthropy. Still, I wanted to pay tribute to the horror genre on my blog. Problem is I hate the horror genre. Not too crazy about Halloween either, which is why we left our porch light off and refused to go to the door. Unlike others who see the holiday as their opportunity to be someone else – to play dress up or to shed their everyday skin for an excuse to make fools of themselves – I take the high road by mocking their shameful indulgence and remaining indoors where it’s safe.
I’ve never been a big fan of holidays. The parties are just an excuse to indulge, make yourself sick and do things you’ll later regret. Plus, I never get invited. Besides, I’d rather watch horror movies. And I hate horror movies. I never saw any of the Friday the 13th films or the Halloween series or I Know What You Did …