Sunday, April 4, 2010

Different Masks



The Long Walk by Stephen King (or Bachman, if you prefer), is probably my favourite novella/novel of all time. I say this for a variety of reasons: first of all, it is one of the first 'adult' novels that I ever tackled, and it came at the tender age of twelve. Therein lays an uncanny, portentous flavour within the pages that will never be equalled. It was read with a pure heart, a pure mind. No critical analysis or comparisons can be made, for the standing wave front that is the human mind has yet to develop a coherent narrative juxtaposition. I saw the world through different eyes - better eyes, if I can be truthful. Almost candy-flavoured senses that an adult brain would need drugs to enhance. In truth, I yearn for that transparency: but have to live with the verity that those halcyon moments will never come again -

Secondly, I am tackling the book again for over the tenth time, and find it every bit as delightful, sickening, insightful, gruesome and funny as I did the first time around. It's obvious there is a reason Stephen King became who he became. Although written just after high-school, we find within the pages smooth and structured intent: someone who was born to take up the pastime. The story of Ray Garraty walking for his life in a post-neo fascist gameshow America is a metaphor for life. Only the persistent keep walking, while others conk out and die. Some of them are friends; others enemies. But we're all on the Long Walk together, and I am enviable of Stephen King for grappling this finite concept at such an impressionable age.

It was drawn to my attention last night there is actually a website for devotees of the book. I couldn't believe it, and yet - I could. I'm not alone in my journey to keep walking and claim the ultimate prize - or Dark Tower, or whatever you want to call it. There are others all around me - trying to find the strength to run - 

One more thing: I think one the best things about revisiting our most beloved books is the smell of them. A scent can certainly transport you back, and if you have that same edition you read as a youngling, hold on to it. It's a fantastic tether to a purer past ... 

Shoot me an email if you feel the same. :)

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