Saturday, January 25, 2014

Reading Thoughts: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

For me, reading a good book has always been like a minor explosion going off in my mind. The narrative cycles between my frontal and parietal lobes in a sensation that is so real I can truthfully feel the words as they slip into my brain. The right combinations are like a gorgeous dark liquid. Black ink that explodes when perfect sequences melt together. Purple, red, orange, pink, blue, cyan, scarlet, ocher, chocolate, gold. Myriads of these words form something so beautiful it can't be put into words. Nothing can truly capture the feeling. 
I just read Stephen King's Doctor Sleep. What a gorgeous book. My grandma looked at me with concern when I finished. She had just asked how I liked the book and I laughed and told her everybody died. I suppose that makes me a bit insane, which is just how I like it. Funny feeling this, to be happy when people die. I suppose, if it's the right people in the framework of the story, you feel the sorrow but the symphony is so perfectly nuanced that you know you'd never change it for the world.
My mind feels perfectly balanced on the pinnacle between that world and this. Slogging back out of it was like climbing up from the deep recesses of sleep. Normal thinking requires much less of the brain. Sitting and staring at a movie even less. Books are something that cannot be replicated by the best movie, for they are intensely personal experiences. The changes happening within your mind when you read a book are so intimate as to be sacred. Reading Doctor Sleep was a majestic, dark symphony, as all of Stephen King's books are. Some have a different timbre, some a lighter, some a darker tone. Some end on harsh notes, others are sweeter. Everybody dies, somebody lives, the wrong ones or the right ones. Some strike chords that are so discordant they jostle you out of the web of words. 
The symphony created by Doctor Sleep was a deep one. It stretched back and pulled up old memories streaming over years. They echo of even more experience, experience I currently only guess at. The more you know the less you know you know. The book had the right chords, the right echoes that ran backwards and forwards through time. The discordant, yet secretly pleasing mass of inappropriate words sprinkled thoughts that were utterly truthful. I cannot dissect it other than feel the symphony still running through my veins. I suspect it will stay that way for days to come.
To anyone reading this mass of words and phrases, it is mostly inane musings of an average mind. A mind that just experienced something wonderful. I read very fast, so 500 pages took me about four hours. I can't tell you how I read like that and still understand things. What I can tell you, what I've been trying to say, is that when the book is good you don't see the actual words anymore. You see pictures. You hear music. You taste color. Your imagination pulls things together faster than you could speak, faster than conscious thought. The experience can sometimes leave your brain heavy, but a well-spoken narrative flows more smoothly than water through a glass. Except the liquid isn't water, it is a thick, smooth, heavy miasma with colors and meaning. A small stretch of time that pours through the filters of your mind, laying bare all the nutrients for the neurons to pick up and digest. And digest they do. Your mind is faster than you can ever realize, and if you allow it the full potential, you will come away breathless.