The Innkeepers

Holy shit! I skipped out of work early to catch The Innkeepers and I am now sitting on my couch with the lights on and the tv on but on mute so that I can both have plenty of light and write this post.

Downsides: Sometimes the acting is a little too theatrical. The ghosts are less scary when you see them.

Upsides: Every fucking thing else. Plus, the ghosts are less scary when you see them. Or at least, they appeared that way from behind my fingers. It’s a beautifully filmed movie. Just visually I really enjoyed it. I picked up right away on the maiden, mother, crone symbolism (there’s literally no other reason for the mother to be a guest except to invoke that triad.

But man, now I’m wondering if there really aren’t five archetypal roles for women–maiden, bride, mother, crone, and ghost. Not that men can’t be ghosts in real life, but I’m talking about symbolically. Honestly, if I were going to design my own tarot cards, I’d stick those five in there. Anyway, all five of those roles are there (the bride also being the ghost).

Anyway, since it’s mostly noises, it’s really scary. The actors are great. It’s like they cast the gal for being all eyes and the guy for being all wrinkly fearful brow. And Kelly McGillis, from Top Gun, is in it and she is amazing.

It’s really good.

But now I have major heebie jeebies.

Gun Nuts, Talk to Me Like I’m Stupid

Okay, so, in the project I’m working on, there is a bad guy who shoots people. And, as you know, I know next to nothing about guns other than that you point them at things you want to shoot at, don’t point them at things you don’t want to shoot at, always treat them like they’re loaded, and keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire. And… that’s it. The extent of my gun knowledge.

So, I have a two-fold problem.

1. I’d like to shoot some guns, just to get a feel for what my character would be doing. But I have zero idea how to go about this. Should I make friends with someone very well-armed and just stand in his back yard and fire his weaponry? Can I just show up empty handed to a gun range, pay my money, and try some shit out? Should I try to corral a friend who does shoot and have him take me? Do you call ahead and make an appointment? Just show up? How does that work?

2. Obviously, I’m interested in the logistics of shooting and killing people. But I already feel like a complete tourist about the whole gun thing (see above). Is it going to weird someone out or get the cops called on me if I ask questions about the logistics of shooting at a person? I can’t avoid being a tourist. I just don’t want to be the rude tourist.

Ideally, what I’d like is to explain my character a little bit, have someone with some knowledge say “Yeah, okay, a guy in that situation is probably going to shoot either this or this. He may also have this. Here are some things you should consider about each of these weapons.” and then I could try them out. Is that something that one can do?

I Bring You Cool Things

1. A whole gallery of cursed gems. Man, I secretly want to own a cursed gem. Like the one that’s cool for girls to wear.


This is really cool and so many of the women look like my dear friend, B., that it’s kind of disconcerting, but hot damn, that’s a lot of white women.

3. Composite sketches of literary characters. I’m disconcerted to see how much Humbert Humbert looks like Jim Carrey. Oh, but you know! He does drama well and he does kind of inhabit that space between creepy and charming. Maybe he would be an excellent casting choice.

4. I would have always thought this was cool. Lord knows, it has meant so much to me to find evidence of my ancestors. But after trying to help Sam research his family and having to confront just what an enormous clusterfuck researching your family if they were enslaved is, I feel like this isn’t just a cool website, but a real gift to a lot of people.

One More Morose Midwestern Post

As I think I’ve made clear, I have very mixed feelings about small-town America. I kind of hate the little towns I grew up in. And yet, when I bought a house in Nashville, I moved to the Davidson County suburban equivalent of a small town–a couple of restaurants, two gas stations, a grocery store where everyone turns to see whose walking in the door when it whooshes open and enough people know me by sight to smile at the sight of me, where more pick up trucks than cars pass me on the road when I walk the dog most mornings.

So, yeah, I hate it, but only in the way you can hate something you feel in your bones. The hate you feel toward something you can’t live without.

And so I am torn about the pending death of Keithsburg, because it’s not just Keithsburg. Driving to visit my parents sometimes feels like town after town on the verge of giving up the ghost. Places where people where born and lived their whole lives and died after having a life are drying up and crumbling away.

It’s hard for me to imagine that it will ever come back. Jobs, what jobs there are, have moved to the cities and people have to follow.

But it’s weird. It’s like we’re just slowly abandoning the countryside. The land we killed people over and now we’re just letting it go. I mean, I doubt Illinois is going to trudge over to Iowa, hat in hand, knock on the door of the Meskwaki and say “Um, oops. Turns out we don’t want the Yellow Banks anymore. You can have it back.” Or go track down what’s left of the Illinois Confederation and admit we’re emptying out of the land we forced them off of. So, it’s like a tragedy with an insult at the end. We did these terrible things to you and, in the end, we were like, eh, fuck it. We can’t make it work here.

And I see the same thing happening in Tennessee, watching West Tennessee emptying out.

Is that it? We just end up these dense urban centers surrounded by ghost towns?