Last night I came home from work, ate a delicious meal prepared by the Adorable Creature, sat in my chair, put Monday Night Raw on in the background, and decided to finish my book (More Than This by Patrick Ness which I highly recommend). When it was time for the main event I put Gandalf the Kindle down so I could focus on the match. I figured ten minutes of wrestling and a likely ten minutes of reading and then off to bed I’d go. Nope. I was wrong. I got maybe six minutes of wrestling in and then the Adorable Creature was waking me up to come to bed. Didn’t see the end of the match nor did I read the end of my book. Total bummer all around.
I’ve been doing pretty good with my Good Reads reading challenge thus far trading off between novels and graphic novels pretty evenly. I currently sit at three apiece for the year. Not too shabby. After last years lackluster reading, in the novel department, I’ve really focused in on upping my game this year. In order to keep that trend going, I woke up this morning and grabbed Gandalf the Kindle and we headed off to the gym together. I was determined to finish my book before the day really started. In between novels I’ve been slowly working on Joe Hill’s 20th Century Ghosts short story collection. These stories serve sort of as a pallet cleanser while also being a slow burn to a completed book towards the goal. It’s the best of both worlds. I really wanted to read one of those stories today so I could start Linda Meigel’s newest book, The Love Trunk, tomorrow.
Let me tell you Geeklings, trying to read while on the elliptical is no easy feat. I have no problems reading while in a car or on a boat, buuuuut the elliptical was a true test of my ability to organize words into full sentences while moving. Luckily the book was near finished so it was only about seven minutes of reading during my work out which more or less means seven minutes of being distracted from the pain. But the book was finished, and quite fantastic, which meant I could stick to my goal for the day.
I beat the traffic to work which meant I got there before anyone else allowing me to start my short story in the parking lot. The next story up in 20th Century Ghosts was called “Pop Art” and I was looking forward to it having enjoyed the collection thus far and being a pretty big Joe Hill fan. Within those first couple of pages though I knew I was on to something different than just a pallet cleanser between novels.
There is no better feeling than experiencing a story, in any medium, and having that moment where you know instantly that it’s grabbed you. That there is something within this narrative that’s going to move you. I only got a handful of pages in before my co-workers started piling in for the day which means I had to wait and wait and wait before I could return to the story. Once lunch came around I made a b-line upstairs and sat down eating my leftovers devouring the story. Finishing just as my lunch ended.
From there… from there I rode a story high all day. “Pop Art” was a beautiful story that moved me to tears. It was so unexpected that it made it’s impact even more cherished. I figured I would head into work today and read a short story and be entertained then switch gears as I got ready to start a new novel tomorrow. I didn’t expect to be moved the way I was. Reading that last page, that last line, I felt the tears well up and had to fight them down as I headed downstairs to start working again. But no matter what I did for the rest of the day I couldn’t shake the story. I didn’t want to shake the story.
There is no better feeling in the world than finding a story, or a story finding you, and moving you for the rest of the day. For a story to leave even just small indentation on your life. I immediately recommended “Pop Art” to the Adorable Creature, I actually want her to sketch a scene for me so I can hang it up on our walls, and plan on doing the same for my sister tonight when we watch The Flash. I don’t know what to expect from their reactions though. “Pop Art” seems like my little piece of magic and I’m not sure if it’ll resonate with them the way it did with me. That’s not my job though. My job is to make this story live. To get as many eyes on it as possible because it’s beautiful. It’s heartbreaking and tender. It’s strange and breathtaking. It is everything I want out of a story. I haven’t stopped thinking about it all day.
I’d tell you what it’s about but… I went in not knowing anything about the story other than the title and maybe that’s all you need to. Keep that canvas blank until Joe Hill starts to paint it for you. Then tell me you weren’t moved.
Author’s Note- You can find “Pop Art” on Amazon as a single short story, you don’t have to buy the entire collection. Please do either or and then let’s discuss.