Thursday, February 9, 2012

Killer Stories

Kate put a galley of this into my mail box the other day. I was definitely talking to someone about it earlier, they said they were reading it and I emphatically mentioned I would like to borrow it after they were done, but apparently it wasn't Kate, because the blank stare she gave me when I asked her if I had had a conversation with her about it let me know she was not the one. Anyway, I was psyched to have it; I would not go so far as to say that I am obsessed with serial killers, or even have a penchant for their biographies, however, I must say, I find them fascinating. In no other particular way do these maudlin tones manifest themselves in my everyday life. I am ambivalent about horror movies, gore, any kind of viral what-have-you that might be running around on the internet at the time. Sure, I went through a goth phase in high school, but that was mostly just for laughs. There is something so interesting, however, about the character investigation of a real-life serial killer, and I find I can't ignore a good intrigue.
In 2010, for example, the night of our Booksmith holiday party, I was closing up the store for the night and felt terribly feverish. Tragically, I had to forgo the holiday party, in order to go home and sweat out the monsters for approximately two and a half days. I live on the fourth floor of a walk up, and my roommate was out of town at the time, so I was essentially isolated in what felt like a damp, sticky nest of decay until I begged my Dad to bring me Advil gel caps about 14 bottles of fruit punch flavoured Vitamin Water. During this time, I also happened to be reading "Helter Skelter", the true account of the Manson family murder investigations. This led to hours and hours of sitting up in bed, reading about atrocities and the general Manson family history, and then equal time spent tossing and turning, having surreal, almost comically gory fever-dreams of murders, screaming, and viscera. Eventually I was basically only leaving my room to streak (as fast as a very sick person can) to the bathroom, to stare, bleary-eyed and otherwise askew, at my gaunt reflection sweating back at me in the bathroom mirror. "Why are you doing this?" I asked myself. "Stop reading the book, you have hundreds of books, read another book." Then I would turn back, go back into my room, and watch clips of Charles Manson interviews on youtube until I fell asleep again and re-entered the malevolent dream circus of my own mind.

It's a car crash, is what it is. You know it's crass, you know you ought to look away while others suffer, but you can't. Your own morbid curiosity is so powerful that even though you don't want to know, you really want to know. Maybe not all the grimy, gritty details (or maybe, who knows) but the general impression of terror is enough to spark your terrible interest. "My Friend Dahmer" (which will be available in March) is a good, quick read. I do wish the narrative went deeper into detail about Dahmer's life, although it is written (and illustrated) by an actual friend of Jeffrey Dahmer and so is somewhat an autobiographical account. I recommend you pick it up when it becomes available, even though it will probably barely wet the whistle of your thirst for the gruesome.

That's all for this week, friends and lover. Don't forget our bi-annual coven and bake-off meeting this Monday. Satan and Sugar Frosting go together like horse and carriage down this way. All are welcome. Long live Beelzebub. 

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