Carrie. The ultimate revenge on bullying.

Steven King was a head of his time!

When he wrote Carrie nearly 40 years ago, it’s doubtful that he envisioned the state of the US and it’s teenagers these days.

With the recent remakes of the blockbuster movie starring Sissy Spacek, my students are interested in revisiting this novel. Well it’s revisiting for me for them it’s a new book but not a new theme.

Carrie is the outcast, the brunt of all jokes and disdain of the entire student body. King himself admits he hated the character of Carrie and almost trashed the project.

Yet, he couldn’t have known what would be in store for the generation of his children’s children.

Bullying is nothing new, yet it’s increasing violent and malevolent tenure has given rise to campaigns to stop bullying and end the rash of Suicides that have occurred as a result.

Yet haven’t we known someone like Carrie? Haven’t we felt like a milder version of the misfit in our painful growing years? True many haven’t been subjected to the steady physical, psychological, mental and emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother, but what I think most can identify with is the dichotomy of being ostracized by your peers vs the disgust she provokes within us.

It’s summed up in the gym teacher’s urge to hit Carrie for her ignorance, yet at the same time, her scorn for the bullies who tortured Carrie; and then her own admonishment for not reaching out, not trying to help Carrie earlier.

This wasn’t a case of Carrie suddenly appearing on the scene. She grew up in this small town with these children. She earned their disgust early, which is classic treatment with children.

“Carrie” begs the question about what would happen if just one adult in her 16 years had taken an interest in intervening on her behalf. It shows us how we go about our day insulated in our own thoughts, never risking even to rise our thoughts above the cursory awareness of the misfits that move throughout our world.

King accurately, if not a little heavy-handed, shows how monsters are made not born. In essence “Carrie” is his Frankenstein. So can you truly blame the monster for turning on it’s creators?

What is really scary for me is that works of fiction like this are read, digested and forgotten. It’s not until real life tragedies happen that we rise above our own self-absorption to say “oh?”

Columbine comes to mind. They turned on their peers but it’s what we heard later that’s most disturbing: how many were interviewed who said they knew something bad was coming? How many moved out rather than try and solve the problem? Isn’t that what we do? How neighborhoods “fall to pot”? Don’t get involved! Don’t take the risk! Don’t even pay attention–it will go away.

Humans are a selfish lot and our more altruistic traits tend to take a back seat to our dark tendencies. It’s why folks get so amazed when someone shows a simple act of kindness. They distrust it. There has to be a motive because we aren’t kind for no reason.

When did we get so jaded? So distrustful? When did it become a crime to help out a friend, neighbor, community member just because it’s the right thing to do?

Carrie holds a mirror up to today’s society and warns us that if we don’t wake up, we are creating monsters and those monsters will turn on us viciously and violently.

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The Scent of Fog

Ok it took a bit longer — graduations, ugh! 100 words…here ya go!
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Heels clatter passed me as the fog swallows my will. The thrill of being something else pulls. I follow. “I will be gone with the mist, for I belong to it. ”

The wind bites, but I’m not afraid, should I be? “Sit and I will tell you of hoar’s frost.” Visions swim in my head. My blood is her blood. Nausea. “Shh, it has to be.; a knife glimmers. Blackness.

It’s noon, I am alone, branded. The fog coats me in diamond dust. She will return and we will go together where the fog sinks back across the bay.

Fog

No this isn’t my micro fiction piece, just a little poem inspired by fog on a lake and my longing to be suspended in it.

FOG

It came over me when I fell asleep in your arms.

White vapor, softening reality
Until all was gone.

I feel your strength and know I’m safe drifting in the vapor.

Will this fade from me? Or will it blow away with the breeze?

Will the sun’s hot rays punch a hole in this serenity? Nothing lasts forever…

can it?

How to write a better horror movie

I think there was something right about the censors in the early age of movies. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trampling on anyone’s freedom of speech or pen. What I am talking about is ingenuity. By restricting so much of what could be seen, writers and directors were forced to be creative in getting their audience to imagine the action. Simply showing everything is boring and lazy.

Look at JAWS it was a blockbuster hit “because” we didn’t see the shark often. And why was that? Because the darn thing was broken and forced the director to be more “creative”.

Tonight, I am in the mood for a good horror, mystery, or something dark but elegant; nothing with blood & gross out scenes. It seems that with modern day horror-mysteries there alway has to be the inevitable dumb blonde, topless slut, and death & dismemberment.

Watching the remake of The Fog is case in point. They had a wonderful basis for a searing, creepy trick-o-the-mind suspense: the fog itself. But, instead the director/writers take the easy route. They “gross-out” rather than allow the audience’s over active imagination do the heavy lifting for them.

Sure some of the scenes are beautiful: glowing fog eerily moving across the bay, cloaking everything in white. But then they go for the over-the-top knocking and brutal slayings of seemingly ordinary citizens. It all becomes a farce quickly.

I miss the days of Midnight Lace, when directors and writers had to be much more creative because of all the things they weren’t allowed to show.

In this day of anything goes, it’s too irresistible for the movie industry to throw everything but the kitchen sink in to try and tantalize the ever-shortening attention spans of the American movie goer, which grows lazier with each successive onslaught.

They leave the visual effects and CGI techniques to make up for a poorly written plot. What they have forgotten is that we viewers have a wonderful, lurid and paranoid imagination and we should be allowed to exercise it. If they would, they would find they have a far better movie.

Start with a good storyline, engage the audience’s imagination and then don’t cop out on the ending.

To that end I’ve issued a challenge to myself and my fellow writers to write a micro-fiction piece with the word Fog as inspiration. By it being “micro” it gives us only a precious 100 words to tell a complete story and engage the audience’s imagination. Results tomorrow.