I Read a Thing; Now My Brain is on Fire

We talk all the time about words burning themselves in our minds…

No. That’s a bad start. Forgive me. My brain is on fire.

There are a few things on my list of “Never Do’s”:

I never cry after reading a book, no matter how touching the subject matter.

I never highlight directly in the book, or make notes–instead, I copy things in journals in frantic, barely legible handwriting.

I never wander the apartment with a lost look on my face after finishing a book.

Then I read Catherynne M. Valente’s RADIANCE and all that went to hell.

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This book wasn’t particularly sad. In fact, without giving anything away, you could say the end is one of the more uplifting ones I’ve read of late. But seconds after I closed the book, tears started falling. Fuck, they’re still there. That’s because this prose–this fucking prose–gets inside your head and your heart and you don’t realize it’s messing you up until it’s done the damage. You’re drunk on prose and it’s only minutes until the cirrhosis hits.

The worst part is you’re thankful for it. Praise be the callowhale.

It’s a book about movies and making movies and the visuals are so striking, so intricate, that I found myself going back over descriptions–over and over–to suck every last drop of it out. ‘…a hat brim so sharp it’ll cut the night’ — ‘…rough garnet chips that do not glitter so much as burn against her childish waist.’

In all its space opera/alternate universe sci-fi flair, RADIANCE snuck up on me with its real factor–that’s a thing I don’t think I could ever forgive an author for. But god dammit if I’m not going to turn over and ask for another.

‘We live in a universe of lenses. We watch and watch. We all share one eye between us, the big black camera iris. We wait our turn to see what someone else saw on a screen. And then we pass it on.’

You’ll forgive me if I don’t turn on the television for a while.