Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Welcome to the next season of series

Television has always been something in my life that I could do without. It wouldn't necessarily be a happy existence, but I could manage. My grandparents did it, right? But, books are something completely different. I think it may have something to do with wanting to imagine what characters look like and no commercial breaks.

When The Green Mile by Stephen King originally came out, it was released in 6 monthly installments starting in March of 1996. When the last novel was published, it marked a first in book publishing - 6 books by a single author on the NYT Bestseller List. But, I waited. I waited until for the single-volume release to read it.

Each installment is like a 75-page, short story puzzle piece; complete in and of itself, but relative to the larger story. I could have read each in about an hour. And then what? Wait a month for another hour of reading enjoyment? That's just stupid. So, I waited and read the entire series in less than a week. Patience is like smoking. You don't crave the second cigarette until after you've smoked your first one.

I was just another addict when I was finally convinced to read just the first Harry Potter book. I originally wanted to wait until after all 7 HP books were released before reading the series. I even trashed the books and their fans just because it made it easier not to become one. Yeah, I'm weak. It's one thing to hate the series because of the hype, it's another to hate yourself for pretending you hate the book because of its hype.

Serial novels lead to this tv drama stage of my life. I have a reason to wake-up every morning because I'm another morning closer to the next episode of Supernatural. And, simultaneously, I see the dependence and think I should drain the blood from my wrists with a sewing needle. But, maybe in our obese, depressed America, we need just such a reason to roll out of bed when the alarm clock rings adult-thirty every morning.

And then we begin, again, our serialized lives. We are all characters acting a role in a play for someone else's amusement, or so it seems. We make our entrances and exits and sprinkle bits of our good or sour humor on the other actors. Like dandruff we rub-off onto others, some we don't even know. Imagine the 6-degrees of your own life. And then there's the fictional world.

The lives and times we experience under disquise, wearing someone else's book jacket are not only our own experiences. We could all read the same book, but each would have a different image of the characters and connect with different feelings so that we may all be Stephen King readers, it's as if Stephen is creating a unique life for each of us; inside a large room how many flies can fit onto walls, the floor and ceiling?

In how many different rooms did we watch the events of 9/11 unfold? Where might you be when you read another student-teacher affair headline? Some would say it's too early or too controversial to fictionalize such events that have become routine news coverage; some wounds are yet unhealed and some should never be trivialized. Funny how individual freedom can also be controversial.

If I want to read a fictional book about a terrorist attack very similar to the 9/11 attacks, then I'd like to think I was ready to take that next step in my own American life and healing. If my yet-to-be-conceived/thought-of daughter wants to read about teenage sex and pregnancy in a fictional diary, then, as a parent, I'd rather her read about it than experiment with it for herself. In my biased opinion, any parent that has concerns about what their children read should look again at the possibility that they haven't raised their children to know the difference between fact and fiction and right and wrong.

I stayed away from all serial television because I couldn't say for sure that I'd be committed enough to follow the entire episode-by-episode series and that would disappoint me. If you miss an episode, you either continue watching knowing that you've missed something or you stop watching and wait for the DVD. It's not easy with books, yet, it's easier. It's harder on a reader to skip the second book in a series and then read the third book. But, it can be done because the second book is still available...well, most of the time.

I guess what I'm saying is there is a rational choice to keeping up with a television series or a book series. And, I guess I'm saying I don't know exactly why I wrote this now that it's completed. Except to say that being addicted to series television isn't as bad as I originally believed. And, I can put the sewing needle back into the sewing kit for the next rainy-day, questionably, inteligent-like morning pee.

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