Happy Easter, to those of you for whom the holiday’s still going on, assuming you celebrate it. Over here in Korea it’s already April Fool’s Day. Wouldn’t it be funny if they fell on the same date? That must happen sometimes. I’ve got to pay closer attention. That way the minister could stand like a shepherd before his well-dressed, seated flock, and intone: “On this day just shy of twenty-one centuries ago, Jesus Christ rose from the dead–April Fool!”
Hey, I used to believe it too, till I was about eight. I’m glad because in a few months I’ll be heading back to the east coast of the U. S. for a vacation, flying westward from the East, and although for one month I’ll miss the yeastier beer that’s served here, I must admit I’ll be ready to take a break from almost everything over here–including work, marriage, and church. Which reminds me, yesterday while my wife and I were undergoing our weekly torment in that unedifying edifice (weekly for me; she’s a heavier user herself, and she claims to actually enjoy it; her church’s motto, however, is “trust and obey,” which is the actual name of one of the actual hymns they sing there), after she’d given up on trying to get me to sing the hymns instead of just engaging in some zombie-like groaning a la Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies, the old lady sitting next to us actually belched. It was the first time I’d ever heard a church burp before, and I pray to God it’s not the last. It was by far the best monotony-breaker I’d ever enjoyed in that puritanical prison, much more evocative than the incontinent smartphones, a wonderfully eloquent expression of inarticulate mortality that nicely contradicted the pastor’s pallid and worn-out sales pitch.
I’ve been feeling too depressed to write lately. I know that’s a lame excuse, and I should be crucified just for saying so, but it’s true. The reason is not merely a lazy lack of inspiration, or resentment that spring hasn’t arrived (the whole month of March here was a gyp, weather-wise), which has kept me exercising my exercise-boycott, or the usual cantankerous dissatisfaction with married life (although I must admit my wife did a beautiful job singing in the choir yesterday, and I felt both proud of her and guilty for not being the man she wants and/or needs me to be; it would be much easier to if I weren’t in fact a woman–just kidding, despite the man boobs and shapely hips belied by a testosterone-enriched exodus of hair from the top of my head to my estrogen-hoarding chest, producing an incongruously hermaphroditic and grotesque effect).
The real reason I’ve been bummed out is I felt outclassed by the book I mentioned above, Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion, which I’d picked up on a whim at the bookstore on Friday, as it had been recommended to me by my arch-foe and best friend, Mr. Morton Hawsen, whose recommendations are often sound despite his being an incredible imbecile, which explains why his given name is almost Moron (his parents obviously had his number from the get-go).
After weeks of reading satisfying novels but not exactly page-turners, I found myself pulled into Marion’s book from the start and pulled through all the way to the end. I’m not a big fan of the zombie genre by any means, despite having first-hand experience as an un-dead person, and even though it was perplexing to encounter British spellings of American words (I double-checked the About the Author page to make sure he was still from Seattle instead of Birmingham, England)–for example, ‘Boneys’ instead of ‘Bonies’ (and you have to admit that the British spelling is better, since the latter looks too much like ‘Ponies’ and makes these skeletal nemeses less scary), I was “rapt withal,” as Shakey William would say of Hamlet (through the mouthpiece of Polonious, if I ain’t mistaken).
Since I don’t always trust my impressions of what I read, thinking I might be full of shit, I did a quick Google search after finishing the book to look at reviews, then thought better of it. I also have mixed feelings about seeing the movie–or “film,” in British–because a friend of mine here in S.K. said she was underwhelmed by it. The trailer I watched looked good and I like the cast, but I’m also leery of seeing movies adapted from books I enjoy enough to re-read, as the flicks often feel like a violation of the material.
(It’s also a little disconcerting that both paperback editions of the novel available at the bookstore depict the actors from the movie on the front cover, and the cast and credits on the back–ah, the inescapable crassness of the modern world.) I hate not being able to form my own visions of the characters and settings, or to have them distorted and erased by the heralds of Hollywood.
Not every film adaptation is crap though, and sometimes the movie is just as good as the book if not better--The Butcher Boy, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Catch-22, The Graduate, and Rosemary’s Baby spring to mind. The Postman Always Rings Twice? Could be–it’s been a long time for either. Psycho? Not sure I’ve even read it. You?
One annoying thing about the disease of writing is that, apart from its being a shitload of fun when you’re on a roll, when you’re in a slump it’s easy to feel resentful of the successes of more accomplished writers and if you let yourself envy them too much, whether because you think they’re undeserving of the public’s accolades or–worse–because you sense they’re much more talented than you and you might as well throw in the towel before it gets any more mildewed, you can end up becoming unproductive as a result, which is a great way to reinforce the vicious cycle of self-loathing and defensive, misanthropic, unloved-because-unlovable, lonely Scroogian contempt.
But as a great old professor of mine once said, life is nothing worth killing yourself over. More than that, being creative is its own reward. Who was it who said, “If energy is not used creatively, it’s used destructively”? As an old friend of mine used to say, that’s as sure as eggs.
And all these selfish little psychodramas are just part of the ongoing endless parade of idiotic mental bullshit that leads precisely nowhere. It’s about as mindless as the processions of Kim Jong-un’s marching, brainwashed troops, and as potentially destructive (or at least self-destructive).
If you look up Isaac Marion on Amazon, you’ll find in the little About the Author section (which Google even quotes) a funny remark by the author, who self-deprecatingly claims that Warm Bodies is the only one of his novels that’s “worth your time.”
I’m sorry I don’t know how to write a book review without giving away too much of the story or quoting too much of the contents directly to risk violating copyright laws. Suffice it to say I agree with the author whole-heartedly and look forward to what he’s got down the pike, as long as it’s not a sequel. I’d also like to know (can anyone answer this question for me?) whether writers get paid for mentioning such products as Mercedes (the car in the story even has the rather cloying nickname “Mercey”), Starbucks, and Ikea, or whether they add these corporate logos as details to provide verisimilitude, unless they’re just selflessly genuflecting to the God of Capitalism or the insatiable Pac-Man piranhas happily snapping their jaws in an effort to gobble us all up alive.
Damn, I have to go to work now. I wish I could go back to bed instead. It feels as if someone just ate my brain. I forgot to say: Bon appetit, mon ami.