I have ailing parents (97, and 92) that I've been visiting and was focused on them. I took the long drive again from Virginia to Massachusetts and listened to Stephen King's Revival. In a previous post -- The Writer and the Governor, I began thinking about King, how I admired him and ought to read him again. It has been many (too many to count) years since I have picked up one of his books. So I picked Revival. Appropriate. (Though now I read that the LePage-King tiff continues and King says he's written at least 2 characters who have LePage like characteristics so maybe I should have chosen one of those).
Revival is told by Jamie Morton, who grows up in a Maine town similar to Durham where King grew up about a decade later. As a child of 6 Jamie is befriended by a new young minister, the Rev. Charles Daniels, who comes to town with his beautiful wife and young son. The minister is fascinated with electricity and performs what could be a miracle on Jamie's brother who has lost his voice. Then life-changing, faith challenging tragedy occurs and the minister leaves town only to pop up again at various times in various incarnations -- increasingly more sinister over the course of Jamie's life. King says he was inspired by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in the writing and themes of a fall from innocence, and seeking forbidden knowledge dominate the tale.
Reading Revival reminded me why I am -- and am not drawn --to such books -- even as I admire the remarkable story telling ability and character of the author. Horror doesn't interest me so much.
What I love is the portrait of a bygone time in an area of Maine I know well. Though I didn't inhabit the Durham, Lisbon Falls area in the '60s and '70s as the writer and his hero did, I came to know the area a few decades later-- and can see the roads, almost recognize the landmarks-- I've traveled along Route 9, and passed that little Methodist Church. When King mentions Shiloh, I remember visiting that other Durham church (and reading about its own dark history and maniacal minister.) Is Sky-Top, where lightning strikes, very very loosely based on a defunct local ski area called Sky-Hy? King blends fictive locations with real ones in his recreation of Castle County. For those who have lived nearby, there's the fun of speculating on those blends.
And then on returning to Virginia I listened to the first few chapters of Station Eleven, then switched to listening to Cloud Atlas, as I tried to catch up on the ReadAlong. When I returned home to my messy house and untended garden, I discovered an Amazon Thrift book I had given up on arriving in time for reading before book club had finally arrived. So I chucked Station Eleven and Cloud Atlas and picked up Under the Wide and Starry Sky. Pressured, I started flying through that book, skimming the pages.
I don't like reading this way. I intensely dislike reading this way.
I quit. I skip book club.
I clean house. My tend the garden. I let myself be sad. I return to part-time job. I also plan/teach yoga classes. I watch tv.
I seek my rhythms.
My reading life is such a mess, I let it go.
I need to reset before starting again.