Saturday, April 16, 2016
The Tower is Ever Outside My Reach
I am on a great journey with this blog. It's taken me back to many familiar haunts and introduced me to new places as well. I've enjoyed each step of it, even the unpleasant ones.
And it's not over. Not by a long shot. I said at the beginning that I'll be reading all of Sai King's material, and I still aim to do so. This blog will not be over until Stephen King either retires or passes on.
But...and you could sense the "but" coming, couldn't you? Yeah, there's a "but". But...several things have changed since I began this blog. As I have said several times, my reading time has been cut nearly in half. Back when I was employed I had a guaranteed two hours (roughly) per day to read. Now I have to sneak it in when I can because I am home full time, and looking for work, going to interviews and helping my wife care for our 18-month-old daughter. As our little girl is now very mobile and incredibly active, much of this is simply playing with her or reading to her. And she's not a fan of Stephen King. She prefers the earlier works of Theodor Geisel and PD Eastman, with some Rev. W. Awdry thrown in for flavor.
But it's not just a lack of reading time. I'll be honest here; horror has never been my preferred genre. I like horror, even love it, but my first love is fantasy. It might not surprise you that I favor the darker fantasy works out there, including the currently-well-known George RR Martin and Joe Abercrombie, and some lesser known like Glen Cook and Steven Erikson. My book shelves are sagging under the weight of umpteen fantasy novels that I have yet to even crack open.
There is no question that I am devoted to finishing this blogging project, and by finish, I mean catch up to where King and Joe Hill are (yes, I still plan to include Joe Hill's works). But I hate to admit this; lately it's started to feel like a chore. I have started finding excuses not to read, and it's starting to take me far longer than it should even with my reduced reading schedule to finish a book. Even when I enjoy the book, such as It, which will always rank among my favorite King works, the feeling I get when I pick up the book and force myself to read is one of being burnt out.
This is probably for several reasons. One, I usually don't read the same author for this long. I'll read a series by one author, which generally contains three to seven books (there are some longer, but not many) and then I'll switch to someone else for a bit. But I have now read 23 and a half (roughly) books by the same man, all in rapid succession. I include in this the whole of Night Shift, Different Seasons and Skeleton Crew, and half of Nightmares and Dreamscapes. And as you've seen from my blog posts, it's been a bit of an up-and-down journey. Not everything King wrote was a winner, but I've read it all; the dizzying heights, the terrifying lows, the creamy middles. For 23 books straight.
Can you see why I might be feeling a bit burnt out?
Then there is the fact that I am desperately missing fantasy. I miss the armor, the leather, the swords, the lances, the troop formations, the world-weary soldiers, the devious wizards, the demonic invading hordes. I look at my book shelves and I long to read what's there. Sure, there's also the part of me that is eagerly looking forward to reading the King material I've never read before, and Gan knows there's a ton of that. But combined with my burnout feeling and my yearning for other worlds and times than these, I find myself at a bit of a crossroads.
I see this going two ways. One of them is that I continue to force myself to read King and King only, tiring myself out and getting slower by the day, eventually leading readers to ask if I'm giving up on this blog, or I can balance myself out.
What I think is a far more preferable option is that I start a second blog, one devoted to my fantasy reading. It doesn't have to be straight reviews or straight casting posts as I've done here; it can simply be my own thoughts as I read various fantasy series. Once I've read a full series (don't worry, the ones I read are usually short) and blog about them, I can come back to King and read him for a while, blogging all the way, and while that will mean that both blogs are updated slower, it will also mean that the likelihood of burnout is significantly smaller.
I know most of my readers probably aren't huge on fantasy. However, I often wonder if it's because you probably think, as many I've met do, that all fantasy is the same; Tolkien clones or RPG tie-ins full of fanciful magical battles and quests. My goal with my second blog is to show people that isn't true. I do hope that you'll give it a look. You just might find yourself interested in picking up a fantasy novel and reading along with me, as readers have done with this blog.
It's brand new, but if you're interested in following it, head over to armiesoftheundying.blogspot.com. There's only one post so far (the introduction), but more will come. I do hope to see you there!