I didn’t expect this to be a cheery read and it wasn’t. But it wasn’t bleak either. The story is told through the eyes of Jack, beginning on his fifth birthday. Jack’s mother was abducted by ‘Old Nick’ and held captive in ‘Room’. Jack sleeps in ‘Wardrobe’, plays on ‘Rug’, eats at ‘Table’ and his mother tells him that there is nothing outside of Room, only ‘Outer Space’, everything he sees on the small amount of television she lets him watch is fictional. Jack is safe, Jack is happy, Jack is a prisoner.
Telling such a heart wrenching tale through the eyes and in the words of a child, is inspired. Simply inspired. It allowed Emma Donoghue to explore a very uncomfortable and horrifying scenario without having to go into the gory details. We, as the adult viewer of Jack’s words and experiences, can read between the lines, fill in the gaps, understand the truth behind the creative explanations given to him by a mother doing her best to raise her child despite such awful circumstances. I think it’s rare for the reader in a first person story to know more than the main character, but that is exactly what goes on here. We never hear or see anyone else’s perspectives on the situation (other than through Jack’s eyes of course), but we can see the reality that Jack is unable to grasp.
As a character, Jack is entirely believable, Ms Donoghue does a fantastic job of staying true to the language and thought processes of a five-year old child, never once did it waver, not once did I feel I was reading the words of a woman. Read the rest of this entry
Glorious spring day here over the weekend and couldn’t resist taking some photos. The first is sort of ‘arty’, myself and my daughter in shadow form. I’ve played with this before but not quite to good enough effect.
One of my potted shrubs is already growing new leaves. I wanted to experiment with photographing against a white backdrop, but ended up with some light grey card instead. The session was interrupted by my impatient daughter pulling at the branch, but I managed to snap this first. I feel like there’s something here not quite uncovered.
I’ve been watching Season 5 of Supernatural and am really enjoying it, as I have the entire series. I got to thinking about the format of this and other series in similar genres, what works and what doesn’t.
Supernatural, much like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (another of my favourites) employs the “monster of the week” format which I think really works. There are more layers here though. Once a series is well established, at least 2+ seasons in, you begin to get a real feel for the series-wide story arc; a direction that the main characters are taking, the way they interact and their combined, or individual, story lines that will flow from season to season. Then there’s the season specific story line. Usually a ‘Big Bad’ trying to bring about the end of the world as we know it, ushering in a time of darkness and unleashing the forces that our ‘heroes’ spend their time beating back. On an episode by episode basis we have the “monster of the week”, a specific target that will, almost without fail, be defeated before the episode’s time is up.
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I’ve been doing the Oneword challenge when I have the chance and thought I’d share a few of the results, for want of a more indepth post today 😉
“Fluffy off-white wool sticks to the fence and the bramble bushes along the edge of the field. The grass is cropped short but there is no sign of sheep. Unsurprising as a large Alsation can be seen racing across a ridge in the distance.”
“They pushed their way through the thick tangle of dead wood limbs. Every branch and thorn catching on their clothing and in their hair. It was tough and slow going and she began to worry that they wouldn’t make it through in time. But they had no choice they had to get there before sunset.”
“The cards were still standing on the mantlepiece. In a way she felt that if she took them down it would be accepting what had happened. So they stayed there, now a month after his birthday. Seemed silly some days and she had even stacked them up ready to throw away once or twice, but returned a few hours later to place them all back neatly.”
“I was obsessed with the way she walked, the way she moved, the clothes she wore, even, to my embarassment, the way she smelt. I simply could not get her out of my head and she would hang around there poking into my thoughts and peering around the darkest recesses of my brain like a nosey relative.”
I’m wondering what stories lie behind some of these snippets.
When I was a teenager I’d write and write and write. Mostly poetry, angst ridden, laden with oh so unsubtle hints about the misery I felt and the trauma, yes the trauma, of teenage life. I kept diaries, pages and pages of text about whatever drama was unfolding at this, most crucial, moment of my life.
As an adult I’ve often thought that the most artistic people out there are tortured souls, leading lives that seep into their art, giving it depth and strength. Perhaps this is me falling for the ‘romantic’ Pre-Raphaelite view of the struggling artist. I can never quite get Henry Wallis’s painting of The Death of Chatterton (1856) out of my head when thinking about the ‘artist’. Perhaps it’s a tendency to melancholia but the songs, movies and stories that touch me most deeply are the sad ones, the soul wrenching ones, the ones that make me cry or question the world around me.
So why do I struggle so much to write when I’m going through emotional times? Why can I not use that pain and heartache, channel it into something constructive, something beautiful. Why can’t I take that energy, all be it negative, and turn it into fantastic poetry or a great story? Instead it just tends to make me tired and unable to focus well.
Why, when I was a teenager was angst my muse, and now it’s my writer’s block?
Is it simply that as we get older, our time limited, our energy in shorter supply that angst is a drain and all the remaining energy is ploughed into keeping our lives moving? Or is there something else at work. As teenagers we could wallow in these emotions, feel them, luxuriate in them, without concern that we’d go hungry or fail to pay bills whilst as adults we have to hold these feelings inside for fear they’ll consume us as they did Chatterton in the end…
I spent a week visiting my parents and took the chance to snap some shots.
These were my Christmas present to my mum, so far they’ve survived temperatures of -15 and 8 inch thick ice, and they still look like little bubbles settled on the water. Hard to capture well though!
I’m not sure about this photograph. I think it’s a little on the dark side, but maybe that’s ok. I’m sure this guy has a name, will update you if I find out!
Taken using the sunset setting on my camera. I had to play with this a bit in Gimp as the original was too dark, but I am quite pleased with the final result. I have a few to work on, I feel there’s something in the tangle of black branches against the colour of the sky…
Finally, something completely different. Taken a few days ago, I just like the look of this photo. Not sure it’s quite ‘there’ but there’s something to explore..