Sad ending or happy?

the walking dead, book 19
the walking dead, book 19

Thanks to all Ziyi’s blog’s new followers. I just got reminded to do this more regularly when I saw the new emails saying there were more of you out there. So seems I have some people reading this and so I’ll continue writing. It’s a new thing I’m doing where I don’t necessarily have structure and don’t particularly edit but just write off the fly.

So what’s new? Finished the Grisham Racketeer as I said last post and went on to Miller’s collection of short stories. Didn’t get too far this weekend as I wanted some time off for some personal drama. So I went to my sister’s house and caught up on the last 3 episodes of the Walking Dead on Fox. Absolutely brilliant show by the way. I’ve read the comic books and they are now up to book 19, I think.

Anyway, I’ve ordered it from the library and they’ll send it as soon as they get it, I’m told. Ah, penny saver I hear you say, why don’t you buy the book instead of lend it from the library? You see I prefer collecting the volume collection where they group a couple of the books into one omnibus super-book. For me that’s the way to go to save on some money.

Truth be told though I hardly spend any money on comic books. I prefer buying actual novels instead. It’s a personal thing, mainly because comics are a bit of a hit and miss thing for me. When they’re good they can be masterpieces, but when they are bad – boy run for cover ‘cos the stench is overwhelming.

Now again this is just a personal observation, from a very personal perspective – mean it isn’t like I actually work in the comics industry so my opinions aren’t exactly informed, just somewhat passionate – now, as I say, I’ve observed for a while now that comics don’t always provoke the same scrutiny in the quality of their writing. I can just hear the die-hards yelling, “how dare you?” But really I’ve seen some clunkers.

What’s further depressing is witnessing a series that starts off well and then degenerates into the same obvious and predictable bull it seemed initially intent on avoiding. The ex-machina series is one example; another is Y the last man. And there are others, loads of them.

The Walking Dead is one book I hope will not fall into this category of good starters that finish terribly. It’s one story that has you turning frantically on to the next page because the tension is always ratcheted up to insane levels. This tension is mostly achieved because the writers get you to like characters they don’t mind killing afterwards.

Now while I think this works one or two times, I also feel that it can be emotionally draining if you, as the reader, are made to constantly have to go through an emotional roller coaster. Just like in real life, in the absence of a context, you begin to feel like what’s the point? Why should I emotionally invest in a character and just have the same character killed a few pages from now.

Maybe that’s the point with the Walking Dead – that in this post-apocalyptic world people have stopped being people, stopped investing in each other; because death is just around the corner for everyone why care for people when inevitably they’ll die? And while this may be a true, even realistic portrait of what could happen in real life, I think that ultimately people need that option of faith – that miracles do happen, that not only can, but we should fight for the future, and that people can survive against the harshest odds.

Stories these days tend to have darker perspectives to appeal to audiences expecting darker stories. While there may some new things to explore deep down we’re all still anxious for a purposeful ending (if not all the time happy). I mean even in the Nazi death camps there were reports that Allied forces who liberated some camps were amazed to see some of the women still care about their appearances enough to bite their lips to draw enough blood to paint their pouts red. This sounds amazing: that you lived through hell and still feel anxious as to how other people see you.

Anyway, in the end I hope the Walking Dead won’t go the way of stories like the ending of Mass Effect 3. New age philosophy or no people need something to hope for – books don’t always have to have happy endings, but they can still inspire – something to hold on to to say it’s OK to want to go on. Me, it has always been spirituality, the knowledge and love of God that keeps me and I find a way of conveying it in my stories. I mean who knows who may be reading, who may need a pick me up for Monday morning.

Well if you’re reading this and have got this far there is always hope. There’s always good and stories like the Walking Dead series, which explore human behaviour, can only benefit from acknowledging this.

Uzor

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