9 February 2000

Today I went book hunting. Over in Plainville. I knew someone who lived in Plainville once. Fred. He observed that there was good reason for the town's name. I remember thinking at the time that he was right... but I haven't seen Fred or Plainville in twenty years.

When I called the store to ask for directions, the lady said, "We're on Route 1A. Follow it until you come to the traffic light at Plainville center-- there's only one traffic light in Plainville-- and we're up about two blocks on the left." She might have added that the term "blocks" was just a figure of speech. They don't have blocks in Plainville, even these days. But the bookstore, Second Look Books, was easy to find.

I was looking for reading copies. A while back, Bill, a kindred twisted mind, recommended Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter books. He mentioned one titled Midnight Cafe. I was able to get it through the library. It turned out to be a three-in-one bookclub edition. Three very entertaining mystery novels, which also very entertainingly explored the questions and problems that would arise should a real human woman (albeit one with a supernatural professional calling, i.e., Vampire Executioner for the Tri-State Area, among other things) find herself attracted to and being pursued by two determined suitors, one a vampire (the Master Vampire of the City of St. Louis), the other a werewolf (a school teacher by day, and an Alpha male in line for Leader of the Pack)...

Sounds goofy, right? Not your run of the mill horror stories. But then, Bill knows I'm not fond of those. And I would have found these stories truly horrible if Ms. Hamilton hadn't treated these characters and the alternate reality she imagined as very, very real. But she did. And, except for Richard (the werewolf) being a bit tiresome, and all the vampires dressing a bit too, too (When did all Master Vampires become French, by the way? Did I miss something? This one is named Jean-Claude and calls Anita "ma petite."), I enjoyed reading all three novels. So I wanted to get some of the earlier ones, and, since they're only available in paperback, I thought I'd look... Unfortunately for me, the books are very popular and I'm not likely to find any used copies.

I looked through all the sections. (I always do.) The store was small, but the selection was good and the books were in good condition. The proprietess was pleasant and friendly. When I arrived she was sharing literary trivia questions with two customers. I heard her ask, "Name the Rhode Island writer whose work is similar to that of Edgar Alan Poe."* And when the others said they didn't have a clue, I heard myself saying, "Ah, come on!" And I was invited to answer. I won a chocolate candy. I won another for "What was Atticus Finch's daughter's name?"**

In the poetry section I opened a book at random and found a poem that surprised me by coming so close to something I've often felt:


I little care what path I take,
And where it leads it's little I care;
But out of this house, lest my heart break,
I must go, and off somewhere.

It's little I know what's in my heart,
What's in my mind it's little I know,
But there's that in me must up and start,
And it's little I care where my feet go.

I wish I could walk for a day and a night,
And find me at dawn in a desolate place
With never the rut of a road in sight,
Nor the roof of a house, nor the eyes of a face.

I wish I could walk till my blood should spout,
And drop me, never to stir again,
On a shore that is wide, for the tide is out,
And the weedy rocks are bare to the rain.

But dump or dock, where the path I take
Brings up, it's little enough I care;
And it's little I'd mind the fuss they'll make,
Huddled dead in a ditch somewhere.

"Is something the matter, dear," she said,
"That you sit at your work so silently?"
"No, mother, no, 'twas a knot in my thread.
There goes the kettle, I'll make the tea."

-- Edna St. Vincent Millay

When I'm sore troubled, I've often wanted to walk into the blue twilight, on and on, forever... I bought the book.


Copyright © 2000 New Moon


* H.P. Lovecraft
** Scout (To Kill A Mockingbird)



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