Monday, August 20, 2007

 

In Kansas, Anymore? NOT!

kansas_us50


As an avid--ravenous? gluttonous?--reader, I'm always surprised to feel a sad twinge coming to the end of a book I love. Same deal for series--Stephen King's conclusion of the Dark Tower saga, though imperfect (is it just me, or did he rush to get it done, as though worried another van might come along and hit him?), was still satisfying, and therefore sad, having come to the end of it.

Recently, I finished reading the last Harry Potter book to Thomas. I enjoyed it, and yet I didn't. Because it's the end, you know? As much as you can go back to the beginning, as much as you have your happy memories, over is over.

But what books take away, they can also give, and in equally surprising ways. As a complete impulse buy, I just got Tom DeHaven's It's Superman. If you ever loved Superman--especially the 1930's version--you'll love this book, which recounts Clark Kent's early days with pulpy panache.

But what surprised me was how happy the book made me. Because it spends a lot of time in Kansas, (accepted as canon as the place where Superman grew up). Having moved to Kansas as a boy, I was always pleased to think I lived in the same state as Superman. Yes, I knew he was a fictional character, but when you're a kid, that doesn't stop you--or even really slow you down.

Supermanjump


I felt that pleasure once again, reading the first chapters of the book. Because early on, the Smallville police summon the sheriff of Osage County.

I lived in Osage County.

The sheriff, we learn, resides in Lyndon, and drives 30-45 minutes to get to Smallville.

Lyndon was 30 minutes from me!

From then on, I couldn't get the notion out of my head that perhaps my old town was the model the writer used for Smallville. Crazy, but there it is.

"Why are you smiling?" Her Lovely Self asked.

"I think Superman and I are from the same town," I said, and cackled with alarming glee.

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Comments:
haha, that's fabulous!
 
I would have given anything to see the look on HLS's face when you said that and then cackled.....

Nice to have you back to blogging MM. I love the long, rambling posts of yesterday, but I'll take the postcards and won't complain.
 
You just made me smile.

And did I know before that you were a Dark Tower reader? I've been revisiting that world via the limited series Gunslinger comic books that have just finished up.

Man, I'm missing the Midwest right now.

And I'm very glad to see you back out here with these short bursts of storytelling. Thank you.

MJ
 
Answers on a Postcard is working quite well for you, MM. It reminds me a bit of how Shaw used to write short stories until he realized the dramatic form was better suited for his ideas. This is not to say your writing does not merit a long form. But the fact is that your writing works very well in this concise form.
 
Ya, you and Superman from the same small town (or rather, having lived in the same small town in between being born and somehow making it big....

That works. :)

Loving the postcards. Thanks for taking the time MM.
 
I don't know why but I burned out on the Dark Tower in the early part of Book V. Never finished it. And, as a personal tradition, I've only ever read the Harry Potter books after checking them out from the library, so I'm still waiting to finish that series also.
 
But I thought you were supposed to keep your identity a secret?
 
Hummmmm...........
Small town Kansas boys.
Superman, secret identity.
Magazine Man, secret identity.
Able to leap tall.....
Faster than a spee.....
nevermind
 
Wait...are you trying to tell us you are Superman?!

I get the same feeling at the end of books...and a lot of times I find myself feeling the feelings of characters in books, as well. I have to watch myself because sometimes I become too engrossed. I was getting a little dark and angry while I read Order of the Phoenix like Harry was.
 
"It's Superman!" is a fantastic book. Glad to see someone of generally impeccable taste (and nerd credentials) enjoyed it too.

As for the Dark Tower, I understand your feelings about it as well. There are things about it that I find... questionable. But at the same time, I enjoy it. In a series so focused on death, life, renewal and the inexorable push of fate, I enjoyed the way that it ended in a way that most people probably didn't.
 
Somewhat in the same vein...

I remember feeling elated, as a kid, when I first went to Baker Street in London. Then, slightly deflated when I found out that there was no 221B.

(I rationalized it by imagining that the same flat was there, but Holmes had changed the address to throw off the Moriartys of the world.)
 
How cute! Growing up in NC, we had Andy Griffith's "Mayberry" which is loosely based on Mount Pilot, NC, so I kind of know what you're talking about. But Superman, wow! That's impressive.
 
Holy locational coincidences Batman!
I used to go visit my Grandparents in Lyndon every summer. We would drive over to Osage to swim in the city pool. We would drive the hour back and forth to work at an Aunt's steakhouse on the north side of Topeka. Swimming in the Corps lake just south of Lyndon. Good times.
I didn't figure ANYone knew where that little town was.
Very cool, I'll have to go look that book up.
Thanks MM, glad to see you dropping little notes again. You have been missed.
 
For me the kansas connection was different. I've been very taken by Wicked...so the whole Ozian emerarld city thing really got me. I drove through for the first time this spring, in May.

I loved being in Kansas.
 
Mom just read the last Harry Potter in two days - she inhaled it. I'm glad though, she hadn't done much of any reading since January.

I picked up Armageddon's Children at Wally World in Maine, without realizing it was the first of a three book series. The second book, The Elves of Cintra, is due out Tuesday the 28th. You know I'm hitting the bookstore for that one. Then I'll have to wait, God only knows how long, for the third! I don't like waiting.

Fill in the Blank:

"I think Superman and I are from the same town," I said, and cackled with alarming glee.

HLS could only shake her head and murmur; "You're such a geek".
 
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