Childe Craig To The Dark Tower Came
The Gunslinger fled across the Desert, and the Black Dog followed
Although my writing is predominantly of an autobiographical/personal point of view, I do try (mostly fail) to write in a way that caters to others and, even rarer, write fiction.
You may recognise the title of this blog (albeit I have tweaked it) as well as the opening line (tweaked a bit more). As I mentioned before (here), I am trying to get back into reading. I started with some easy fodder – Batman The Arkham Universe – The Ultimate Visual Guide and today, after having a gander on Twitter and stumbling across an old Tweet from Neil Gaiman, I purchased ‘Black Dog‘ and, from reading the succession of Tweets, I ran across Eric C. Wilder and downloaded (free) ‘Dog Eared Mind‘. I then looked into the works of Eric and ended up purchasing ‘I, Humpty‘.
I started reading ‘I, Humpty‘ and was reminded of some of the stuff I used to write (albeit shit and based on in-jokes). Maybe I have inadvertently found a way back into writing whilst on my quest to read. But I’m going to crawl before I can run.
During this little virtual adventure, I was reminded that the last book I properly read was the seventh book in the Dark Tower series, ‘The Dark Tower‘. I thoroughly enjoyed King’s magnum opus. I remember finishing each book being on edge because, at the time I started he had only published four, he always remained uncertain about its continuation. I read an interview where he’s not sure if he’s even finished and, luckily, I found my ‘fixes’ thanks to the Marvel graphic novel series. They provided back story and elaboration upon King’s initial work and, combined with the artwork, gave the world(s) a whole new level of depth.
I recalled a snippet from an interview with King where he spoke of the first book and the unusual publication of it (it took me a while to find again):
When asked about the delay, King explains: “There were really two reasons. One-was I didn’t think anybody would want to read it. “It wasn’t like the other books. The first volume didn’t have any firm grounding in our world, in reality; it was more like a Tolkien fantasy of some other world. The other reason was that it wasn’t done; it wasn’t complete. I had a volume of work, and it was ’peg-legged’; it was there, inside its covers, it made a certain amount of sense, but there was all this stuff that I wasn’t talking about that went on before the book opens, and when the book ends, there’s all this stuff to be resolved, including: What is this all about? What is this tower? Why does this guy need to get there?”
“So I started off wondering: What is this tower? What does it mean? And I decided that everybody keeps a Dark Tower in their heart that they want to find.
“They know it’s destructive and it will probably mean the end of them, but there’s that urge to make it your own or to destroy it, one or the other. So I thought: Maybe it’s different things to different people, and as I write along I’ll find out what it is to Roland. And I found that out, but I’m not going to tell you!”
As I thought about those words and Roland’s journey it reminded me of life. The tower is the quest; we have an idea of what awaits us (our goal) and we have a long journey to get there. For Roland, his goal is realised as being the defeat of the Crimson King. My take on it is that the Tower represents life and as we make our way up its spiral, nauseating staircase we face new challenges and fears before continuing forward…kinda like Knightmare but, you know…more real. For those that have read the books, you will know of the struggle for
Taking into account my spoilerific point, reading the Dark Tower made me think that that feeling you can only say what it is in French could be memories from a past life or adventure. I know this is starting to sound all Assassin’s Creed-like and next you’ll be thinking I’ll 3D print a functional Animus, but bear with me. From folks like Hideo Kojima (genetic memory, as depicted in the mainstream via the Metal Gear series) to Plato and his “Theory of Forms“, there’s a sense that we inherit knowledge and experiences. If that were true that means that, in the instance of Assassin’s Creed, that genetic memory allows such knowledge to pass down through the family tree. Seems feasible, right? So what if the feeling of de ja vu is actually a mish-mash of our own memories merging with those passed down to us? Some kind of electrical resonance from sight/touch/smell etc. What if dreams are akin to this notion? A concoction of actual past experiences mixed with hopes, aspirations, fears and the genetic memory from our ancestors. Is life imitating art or vice versa?
As King said he reckons everyone has a Dark Tower, but the purpose and detail is unique to the individual. To me, I think the Dark Tower represents life and all its Hellish accompaniments. I mean, it’s called the frickin’ Dark Tower. Just picturing it in my mind, if I forget the books and just focus on the words Dark Tower, it sounds ominous. Dark and foreboding. Looming over me, the top of which is blocked from view by billowing black storm clouds. I picture each floor as a challenge room; a deadly beast to vanquish before I can progress. Perhaps the first beast is getting up in the morning. The second may be getting ready for work. And so on and so forth. Could it be that the tower represents a day and each floor is numbered based on time measurements? It sounds possible – upon ascending to the top I then
I must admit, this post took on a life of its own once I started writing. It was like a torrent of words just gushing outward (which could be incredibly evident based on the quality, or lack thereof). Just like Stephen King though, I don’t think I’m done with this array of ideas. I have a feeling my Dark Tower will call me back just as his has and, most likely, will.
I’ve managed to splice fiction with philosophy (I failed philosophy in high school…I asked why but sadly it didn’t boost my grade). I hope this made sense.
Thanks again for reading.
P.S. – I was also looking into contacting Stephen King to do an ‘interview’ regarding depression etc. but it seemed all too complicated and, after seeing various comments about how unapproachable folks found him, I decided to give up – maybe it’s fear of rejection tied in with the path of least resistance and all that jazz. I guess it’s like what some folk say about meeting your heroes…