A final-fugal evening with thunderstorms and Duke Ellington

I hate endings. Ok, let’s revisit that completely unexamined piece of trite crap I just said. When I find some Thing that strikes particular notes in my brain or heart, I have a hard time letting that experience end.  My Beloved Gentleman often jokes about it, specifically with regard to certain serial or episodic media.  It is also an issue for me with books.  Often, very particular books.  I have read American Gods seven times.  The Night Circus, three.  I have read the complete works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ten times start to finish, since I turned eight (this may have actually been the origin of my Dark and Secret Final-fugal Nature).  I don’t think I have ever actually stopped reading or listening to Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  His Dark Materials, in its entirety: five times.  I believe I have read Ada, or Ardor three or four times.  I will pick up House of Leaves, open it randomly, and read it to the end at least once annually. Often, I will get to the last chapter, or something approaching the last chapter (typically within a half an inch) and slow my typically ravenous pace considerably.  I will take breaks. Make tea.  Have a sudden urge to do the dishes.  The Dishes.  Me.  I will magically decide I want to re-read (or in the case of the Audible full-cast rendition of Dracula, re-hear) that Wonderful Bit from the Beginning, again.  I will start another book.  In all likelihood, this drives the people who love me crazy, except for probably my brother who lovingly tolerates many of my more idiosyncratic personality traits with bemusement and patience, possibly because he has seen the alternative to my strange but at least somewhat healthy coping mechanisms.

Familiar gorgeous stories populated by people, creatures, and places I love are my version of Kraft macaroni & cheese ™. Protip: If I have had a totally shite day, a fight with my mom, or am otherwise depleted or depressed, try putting on Constantine, or Titus Andronicus (the one with Jessica Lange and Anthony Hopkins), or some Star Trek: The Next Generation.  I will go from a fussy, volatile mess to a quiet and comfy, probably sniffly but docile bunny rabbit.  Read to me from the Just-so Stories, or Silas Marner.  There’s something about a wonderful, repeatable experience — one I can practically recite, but don’t need to — that takes the roar out of even my most selfish squalls.  Any resistance to things like Bedtime but Not Sleepy, Adulthood is Hard, People are Jerks, Tomorrow is Only Tuesday What the Crap is That, Car Repairs are Non-Optional, or That Went Poorly and Now I’m Upset about It malaise will likely fade from Hurricane Force Winds to a Perhaps Slight Breeze pretty quickly.

From now on, The Rathbones is likely to be one of these stories that I revisit in an alarming endearing ritualistic fashion.  I finished it at the zenith of last night’s thunderstorm, despite every final-fugal molecule in my body stating that, no, actually right now would be a great time to do laundry, eat food, do dishes, put dishes away, sweep the living room floor, or do basically anything that wasn’t finish this glorious story because oh my god then it will be over and I can never again have the experience of reading it for the first time why is life so unfair augh.  The ending was unsurprising — you could see it in the distance, just as Mercy Rathbone could see all the way out to the horizon.  But despite it ending the way I knew it would, all along, the mysteries solved and journey taken in between the beginning and the end felt absolutely singular.

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A final-fugal evening with thunderstorms and Duke Ellington

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