Hello, good day, and welcome to yet another Thursday. Next week will be the last Thursday of this month, so three weeks remain (if my calculations are correct) until the next planned episode of “My heroes have always been villains.” Hopefully, I’ll be in an appropriate state to write that when the time comes.
I’ve been troubled by a certain issue for some time now, and I think I’ve mentioned part of it here before: I’m having a hard time reading new fiction. I’ve also, probably as part of the same problem, had trouble getting into and enjoying the rereading of fiction that I’ve always enjoyed reading previously. This includes the single most reliable work, The Lord of the Rings, to which I’ve always been able to turn hitherto. Ever since the first time I read it, I have, like Christopher Lee, read LoTR pretty much at least once a year every year. This isn’t atypical behavior for me; when I like a work of fiction, or even non-fiction, including everything from books to movies to comic books to television series, I tend to consume them repetitively. I’m not the sort of person to be thrown off by spoilers, obviously, because on the second reading of a book, there aren’t going to be any significant surprises. My memory and recall seem somewhat above average; I’m certainly not going to forget major plot developments in stories I’ve encountered previously. Nevertheless, as far as I can recall, each rereading of The Lord of the Rings, for instance, has always brought me nearly as much joy as it ever did before.
No longer. In recent months to years, I cannot seem to take pleasure in books that have always been reliable in the past. I’ve tried to reread the Harry Potter series recently, and even to re-listen to them on Audible, but I can’t seem to do it. I lose interest quickly, and find the attempt unpleasant. The same thing happens with The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, The Shining, The Stand, The Dark Tower, Floating Dragon, the works of H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe, of Terry Pratchett, Isaac Asimov, Anne Rice, Robert E. Howard…even my beloved Shakespeare. As Pink Floyd said in the song, One of My Turns, “Nothing is very much fun anymore.” Continue reading