W. P. Johnson

2015, Hannibal, and a Year Long Peak

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2015 at 9:25 pm

2015, you came pretty fast, or maybe I wast just too busy to notice 2014 crawl past.

There isn’t a whole lot I can say about 2014. So much of it was spent working on the novel, which I am pretty confident I can finish a draft of by the end of January (then again, previous blog posts were idealist about earlier deadlines). Who can say, only that I know what happens next and then after that and all there is to do is to actually write it.

The holidays were a surprising distraction. Despite having produced so much during my busiest work hours, I found the holidays to be a complete road block to any work. At least when I was working overtime I could crawl a few pages forward in the early mornings and in between shifts, but there’s something about the holidays that is just completely draining. Visiting family and friends, working those brutal winter shifts in the service industry where everyone gets it in one last time before the end of the year, colds, flus, and sometimes both, coupled with sinuses that came and went as easily as the weather dipped and rose about 50 degrees. On x-mas day it was nearly 60 and my nose was very confused.

But I digress. Sometimes it’s good to let go of things and just give in to the chaos of having one too many balls to juggle. It’s good to see family, to have that extra drink with a friend you’ve blown off for the past year in favor of typing one more hour. It’s good to spend the day watching a show on Netflix because you have a cold that has no cure, save for time itself, NyQuil, and stuffing tissues into your nose.

Which brings me to my newest guilty pleasure, that of the NBC show Hannibal.

It started with my amazon prime kicking in for free on account of ordering something for Christmas. So I decided to check it out while my fiance was sick (and this was about a week following my own cold). Initially I found the show kind of boring, an over the top version of CSI sprinkled with all matter of Hannibal references to keep your readers interested. Every week there seemed to be another genius leaving corpses behind posed in some grandiose way that represented their inner psyche or whatever. Will Graham and Hannibal Lector seemed less adversary and more a duo akin to the True Detective pairing of Rust and Marty (though the former seemed to get along better than the latter). Despite this boredom, I decided to hold out and give it a chance, mostly because I had heard such great things about the show. By episode four, I was hooked.

There’s something beautifully surreal about Hannibal, and it’s a quality I’ve started to notice in my own work when it hits the mark. Fiction is meant to show us the truth, but sometimes it’s also meant to show us how strange the world can be given the chance to flourish. Breaking Bad suspends our disbelief only because we are given a limited scope of perception; we see just enough to believe that Walter White is capable of getting away with his crimes. Hannibal does this even more so, though even with this limited scope, I found myself unbelieving that a character such as Hannibal Lector could ever in a thousand years get away with so much murder. Any writer worth his salt in realism would find himself somehow crippled by this problem of plausibility.

On the other hand, genre is a playground filled with many possibilities. As dreamers, we can go where we please and as long as the characters are strong and the story can hold them, a reader will go along for the ride, they will forget for just a moment that what they are reading is… kind of bullshit. The major plot points of my novel are nothing short but one long terrible peak on some fantastic drug with elements of surrealism, transcendence, music, punk, glam, and all matter of psychotropic drugs. For better or for worse, I have fully embraced the impossible in a work I tried so very hard to have real characters with depth to them. I hope to stand by this work when it is finished.

And then I hope to write something completely absent of these elements.

Until then, I will enjoy Hannibal, a nice glass of wine, and maybe try cooking liver for once.

Or maybe just boxed wine with fritos.

Until then, here’s to be scary.


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