A few days before Mrs. O and I tied the knot, I had to get a new iPhone. An angry tripod leg smacked into the screen of my old 3G. Long story short, I have a new iPhone. I was checking out the iBooks app, and I decided to download as many free classics of literature from Project Gutenberg as I could.
I downloaded about fifteen iBooks, and I immediately started to read Dracula. I had attempted to read it before, most likely while attending high school. I never finished it (like most things I attempted in high school.)
Well, I am close to thirty years old, and I finally finished reading it. I found the book extremely fascinating for a few different reasons. I love the idea of the ever changing journalistic perspective. The idea of narrative fiction stories that are told from potentially untrustworthy sources has always fascinated me. (insert my love of Fight Club here; Mrs. O says I should read Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier next.)
Of all the journals in the book, I found Mina Murray’s to be the most fascinating. Mostly, I think, because I know that it is being written by this man:
Close your eyes. Now open them up and continue reading my post!
Imagine you work at the Lyceum theater around 1897. You really want to become an actor. Mr. Stoker, who is the manager of the most famous actor of the day, Henry Irving, is your boss. You walk in one day to his office, to bring him his afternoon tea. He is in the next room, and you hear the awkward hemming and hawwings of a rather large bearded man as he discusses the next production. You decide to risk poking around his desk — you naughty thing, you.
You set down the tea, prepare to look like you’re walking out, and you start reading some typed pages.
7 July.–No news from Jonathan. I am getting quite uneasy about him, though why I should I do not know, but I do wish that he would write, if it were only a single line.
Lucy walks more than ever, and each night I am awakened by her moving about the room. Fortunately, the weather is so hot that she cannot get cold. But still, the anxiety and the perpetually being awakened is beginning to tell on me, and I am getting nervous and wakeful myself. Thank God, Lucy’s health keeps up. Mr. Holmwood has been suddenly called to Ring to see his father, who has been taken seriously ill. Lucy frets at the postponement of seeing him, but it does not touch her looks. She is a trifle stouter, and her cheeks are a lovely rose-pink. She has lost the anemic look which she had. I pray it will all last.
You immediately would turn and run if the door opened. Just an odd duck, this guy, writing like a woman. Or maybe he stole some Mina Murray’s diary?
Back to 2010. I think it works. Who knows how he had the where-with-all to write so genuinely from the female perspective, but he pulls it off.
To me, that is what separates the men from the boys, so to speak, when it comes to art. Telling stories from perspectives and from characters that you really shouldn’t understand is one of the marks of a talented storyteller, at least to me.
On a side note, I just re-watched Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula film. It ranks up there with Pearl Harbor for worst acting in film history.