Tuesday, November 02, 2004

"I see dead people."

The Movie: The Sixth Sense, 1999 (M. Night Shyamalan, screenwriter and director)
Who says it: Haley Joel Osment as Cole Sear, a troubled child
The context: Cole admits the root of his problem to his therapist, Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis)
How to use it: When you’ve lost the ability to take in any more new information. Or when you see dead people.

Ah, you knew this line was coming. What could be more appropriate for the Dia de los Muertos? Sometimes the obvious choice is the right one.

I've been reading a lot of ghost stories lately, as seems appropriate for this time of year. John Connolly's new collection, Nocturnes, is excellent, and includes one story that shook me so badly I couldn't even finish it. The book's not available in the US until next spring, but you can order it from Amazon.co.uk.

Those stories sent me back to M.R. James, whose work I hadn't read since high school. Maybe this isn't healthy reading on the edge of the Maine woods... or then again, maybe this is the best stuff to be reading on the edge of the Maine woods. As Victoria Williams says, what we fear the most meets us halfway.

Which may be why I just can't wait to vote today. Election Day's always been as good as Christmas for me. In Los Angeles, I used to work the polls, which was a fascinating way to see cross-sections of the city I never would have otherwise. (Also, it made me feel young, since I was at least 30 years younger than most of the other pollworkers.)

My gracious hosts are active members of that other political party, although our views aren't really so different. They've been telling me all week that Maine has a special voting schedule for Democrats, and that I don't need to worry about it until Thursday, when they will have a special booth set up just for me. In Boston. These tactics reflect a shocking lack of faith in their own candidate, if you ask me.

The two big issues on today's ballot are whether to impose a statutory cap on property taxes and whether it should be a crime to hunt bears with bait, traps or dogs. My new apartment stands on the edge of a forest; I think I know how I'm voting on the bear question.


Madley said...

WOW, what a great blog! I read blogs like yours and I remember why I'm NOT a "writer"... (oops, just slipped into "Poor Me" mode, ahem... better now.)

I have to admit, I just read the WHOLE THING, at first for the Jeopardy-like movie quotes (so I could guess where they came from), then for the "How to Use" suggestion, then for how you tied them to your own blog, then to enjoy all the LA references (good God, I even know you're block really well as an ex-friend lives there) -- then following your Trip to Maine! How cool is that -- you are so good!

As I read, I kept thinking "She's got to be using this for a book" and "This would be a great book," when I finally got to the blog that suggested it -- EUREKA! But you never say why you went to Maine... if you wouldn't mind indulging, this inquiring mind would love to know :) <--- I know, no smileys allowed but this is Net writing, so surely it's "allowed" here, she said to The Editor. :)

Thanks for the great (and continuing) read!

AnswerGirl said...

Wow, thanks!

I just looked at the "Moving to Maine FAQ" on my website (http://www.answergirl.net/mnfaq.html), and realized that I don't really explain this move there, either. It's probably because I can't explain it without sounding insane, even to myself.

But I'd been freelancing in Los Angeles for five years, and I could no longer justify the expense when I knew my income would remain the same no matter where I was. Also, I was no longer automatically throwing out the Botox coupons I was getting in the mail.

So I said to myself, out loud, "I need to get out of here." About an hour later -- really -- my friend Anna called, and I was complaining about my rent, and she said, "You should move to Maine! We have apartments for rent, coming open all the time."

I laughed at the idea, but it stuck in my mind. I'm a Navy kid myself (I looked at your profile), so moving's never daunted me -- I spent 17 years in Washington, but was notorious for moving house about once every two years, because I'm just programmed that way.

A week or two after my conversation with Anna, I was out with a group of writers and book-people -- the night one friend used the line, "We've gone on holiday by mistake" -- and suddenly realized that nothing was keeping me in Los Angeles, and I ought to see whether another kind of life would suit me better.

So here I am.

Madley said...

Thanks for the quick reply and the truly-NOT-insane story. :) Your "nothing was keeping me in Los Angeles" sentiment put words to a recent stirring I've not been willing to address... I guess I knew it would and that's probably why I asked. Or maybe it's just the sailor's blood in there splashing around.

Wonder where I'll end up next.