Tag Archives: novel

Blaze by Richard Bachman

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He was going to make this happen. His feet and his head was set, and when he got that way, he always did what he said he was going to do. It was his pride. The only one he had.

Blaze by Richard Bachman

I remember reading From a Buick 8 a summer ago and being completely at loss for words. Not only do I feel the same after reading Blaze – a novel strewn from the mind of a 70’s writer (and who had since died of cancer of the pseudonym) who had turned the transcript to its true maker, Stephen King – but I also spy a twinge of depression in my core.

Blaze, though fictitious, seems like an actual person, who, I believe, deserves more: more justice, more truth. His character upheld the entire novel, which in turn, makes us think about options: the good ones and the bad ones, and how life would, could, should turn out to be so much more in whichever we choose; chances; the right call. The drive to stay alive. The desire to achieve something great before we die. The cohesiveness of using and being used. The importance of indulgence and freedom. We can choose to be bad if we deem it for the good of ourselves, of society, or of the ones that matter to us. We all have reasons – reasons that are not always acceptable. As Brandon Flowers sings, “You were born with goodness”, and it is amazing how the bad can sometimes end up as or for the common good.

It was sad. The idea that struck me the most was knowing how Blaze’s life could have turned out differently. How it could have been had he not triggered his father’s ire in those early days of his life, had his friends stuck with him for the latter parts of his days, had people listened and had not overlooked him, had people not used him, and had he not fallen in bad company. Fact is, Blaze is a good guy, probably the only con that you can sympathize with. All he wanted to do was to take care of that baby. He could have done so, too, but we all know that Blaze wouldn’t be going anywhere. He just kept on running, keeping the kid safe in his arms, enduring; keeping his pride – the climax that construed the complete and irrevocable sadness that I cannot even clearly express. There was just one way to end the tale.

It broke my heart thinking about life’s purpose and the freedom that comes with it. There is always the inevitable, and there are many people, myself included, who would like to come out of it embossed with things that we never screwed up; things that we carefully plotted not because of greed but because we deserve it, and we understand that best. It’s sad thinking about watching birds fly in their absolute freedom. Or dying for someone who will never know you when you’re buried in the ground. Blaze just wanted a purpose to live – anything to tell him that he’s doing well on his own; somewhere he can place his faith, among other things.

It’s painfully emotive how Stephen King can grip at your heart and toy with your feelings. Well played – it works in a surprisingly real way, too. In his foreword, Mr. King bade the Constant Reader a pleasant reading, hoping that we mist up, and hoping that they wouldn’t be tears of laughter. Believe me, the heartbreaking truths of human nature and the odd hand of God cannot suppress a laugh out of my stomach. It is more difficult now to divert ethics and morals, and I think one has to read Blaze’s story to understand why.

4/5

As by the door to get to Heaven
Seven trumpets big and bright
You hear it coming in the middle of the night
A caution to the children
Time to turn your crimson white

We’ve all got reservations
Trials will come suddenly
And without explanation
But you were born with goodness
You were born with goodness
Wherever you go now

I’m right behind you
In the light of hope
I’ll be beside you
On that dusty road
And if you get blind, well that’s alright
Wicked winds blow with grace and might
Cling to the ways of my name
When you touch the stone

Break your word over me
Sinking in the quicksand
Break your word
Don’t you see?
You’re breaking me down now

I’m right behind you
In the light of hope
I’ll be beside you on that dusty road
When no one expects you to deny
And no one accepts your reasons why
You cling to the ways of my name
When you touch the stone

No one expects you to deny
And no one accepts your reasons why
You cling to the ways of my name
When you touch the stone

Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet by Joanne Proulx

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I’m not going to tell you life’s easy. I’m not going to tell you it’s simple. But I will tell you it’s worth living. Every minute of it.”

– Mr. Hunter (Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet by Joanne Proulx)

A fresh fugitive of one lackluster birthday party one Saturday afternoon, I found myself skimming through the stacks of novels at Booksale. I had wandered away from the side where the Stephen Kings used to sit (most of them have long gone by then), and I had decided to scan the ‘cheaper’ areas – yes, Booksale does have that, where the self-help manuscripts and autobiographies, along with other stray good novels, usually sit. And because I was sensing that the dull karaoke session of the birthday party was nearly over and that it would be time for KFC (and that I better be there when that happens), I finally took the book that Bet was handing me so we don’t linger around too long enough to make the clerk suspicious. It was Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet by Joanne Proulx. And, believe it or not, I got it for only P10.

But here’s where Booksale completely goes overboard because a novel such as this one should never be put up as cheap as that – not that I’m complaining. But it is just one of the best novels that I’ve read in recent times.

Here it is: Luke Hunter is real. Psychic or not, he’s just real, so there. I would unmask him to be anyone, and he’s still real. During the week that ensued, he’d been the best companion, him being so resentful and bitter and contemplative. The first chapter just threw me off guard with the swearing and the metaphors and the wily humor, above all. And for a whole week after reading the first lines, I just could not put the book down. Heck, I didn’t even want it to be over. Just imagine that sad pimply face all contorted when I reach the thirtieth chapter. I was in love with Luke’s character. It was his don’t-give-a-fuck attitude and verbosity or lack thereof that got to me. He was a curious thing, always deep in thought, fearful but honest, envious, dissipated, fucked-up even. When he made that “Stokum Sucks” shirt with Stan, I was just as inspirited to thicken my face and print “I am elite” all over our club tee. It is because of him that my inquisitiveness of the years ’02 and ‘03 resurfaced, as it had subtly submerged when I had stumbled upon CM Punk’s defunct Livejournal blog. Admittedly, it was also him who has buoyantly, unintentionally egged me on listening to music (I have my eyes on Johnny Cash – he’s ’02 album was indeed mournful – and Red Hot Chili Peppers, as of late). Of course, he also handed me the keen interest on suburban life, teen angst, young love… and drugs are never out of the picture.

And of course, there was death and the constant knowledge that everybody, everybody, is going to die. It is no secret that I am afraid of this piece of information, this short memo that appears from the moment we were conceived. But reading this book made me feel completely tacit. As though there is someone to share the mutual feeling with. The feeling of constraint and being trapped in a world that you’re not going to walk on forever. He brought fear, the question of a Supreme Being’s existence and losing faith, the options of what to believe and who to believe. He had the questions that people always have. Why him? Why not him? Why this life? He didn’t have a lot of answers as none of us do, but I think that’s what’s really comforting, what’s really believable. With all the shebang that has been happening these past couple of days, I needed a breather, something relatable, not an advice. And that’s where Luke stood. He was the barrier that sustained all the good things from all the bad ones. He filtered the bad ones and managed to cross them off the list of worries. And that is, by far, cheaper than therapy.

There was Fang, who, at first came off as bit annoying, but became incredibly heartbreaking in the end. I myself was shocked at his big McCreary Park revelation. Of course, we never did know if he ever went back to Jefferson or if he ever did kill himself. But when Luke decided to stick to Fang by all means, even after knowing of the latter’s dirty little secrets, made the story even more compelling for my part. It was climbing Jefferson’s roofs and Fang having an emotional breakdown that broke my heart. I was over all shocked for Todd Delaney because he was right the minute he told Luke that the latter “does not know a fucking thing”. I initially thought that it was only his absent mother that strikes up his nerves, but I did not know as well. So, the thing about climbing Gandy’s Rock was the best. It was just so real and honest and breathtaking, I had to reread it several times.

And then there’s Stan. Or as Luke would describe him:

Fucking Stan. He could do shit like that. Look people in the eye and say good, true things. Fool you into believing that everything you ever wanted was so close all you had to do was reach out and grab it. Fucking Stan. Busting with laughter. Thrilling to life. Making it look so goddamn effortless.

Stan – the dead friend. The holiest friend. The only good and pure thing in the world. Everything began and ended with him. And whether we believe in fate or not, it was all about Stan. Everything was interconnected because of him. And if Luke and Faith’s theory about believing in the godliness of human nature was not true, what else could be?

The writing was bold and remarkable. The novel itself struck a chord in my innermost being. I don’t think I would be able to consider thoughts and feelings had I not read this. It made me focus on my deepest and strangest emotions and whatever it is that gets me down just as Luke had questioned his life. The book had a lot of points that I just completely agreed with. One of this is the disputable opinion of having a fair God, not the one that the church would force you to know about, not the one-sided Being that fundamentalists will tell you about. The fact that Joanne Proulx made Luke Hunter a first-person omniscient was perfect. I would not have had it any other way. Reading it aloud is way better than just keeping the story to yourself, just so you know. I’ve often wondered why I can’t seem to find any other book that Ms. Proulx has written after Prophet. Could it be possible that this is her only novel? Is this going to turn into a movie soon? I am deeply interested in reading her work and knowing more about it. In just a week, she has turned me into a fan.

We could go on and on talking about this incredible book, but that would take me days. It’s just so beautiful I don’t have the right words to describe it. But this is just me. We all have interpretations. This one knocked me off my feet.

Another MUST-READ. Wouldn’t it be if I post it here?

Well it’s a 6/5.

I’m dropping you off this Bouncing Souls song, Like The Sun. I found it rather suiting for the novel. If Luke Hunters had a soundtrack from every time someone passes through his life, here’s what I have heard throughout my perusal.

Drifting alone on a wide open sea, letting life pass me by
Avoiding everything I’m afraid to be, but your heart shines a light
Lost in my own misery, till you came and helped me see
That I don’t have to be alone
Thank you for giving this lost heart a home

So keep the light on
I’m coming home
‘Cause I’ve been gone for so long

Always lost inside, always looking away
When the best moments in life are ours to take
The tragedy of human life, the darkness that lurks inside
The days that we quit and start to die
This is the time to stand and fight

So keep the light on
I’m coming home
‘Cause I’ve been gone for so long

Keep the light on
Yeah I’m coming home
‘Cause I’ve been gone for so long

So shine on
Shine on
Shine on
Shine on
Shine on

Drifting alone on a wide open sea, letting life pass me by
Avoiding everything I’m afraid to be, but your heart shines a light

So keep the light on
I’m coming home
‘Cause I’ve been gone for so long

Keep the light on
‘Cause I’m coming home
‘Cause I’ve been gone for so long

So shine on
Shine on
Shine on
Shine on
Shine on
Shine on
Shine on