Thursday, October 18, 2007

Of Piranhas and Ghost Stories.

Image: Angry Piranhas

Angry Piranhas! is a necklace that I made some time ago, using this set of really awesome piranha beads by Chase Designs. Piranha beads! How often do you find something like that? My only complaint is that I'm not a huge fan of the brown color of their bodies... But the beads themselves are just too cool. Wicked little fish with giant teeth!

I've been reading my way through Fragile Things. There's nothing like a good short story collection, be it by one author or many, to keep me happy. I can sit down and read whenever I want, but not get sucked into a huge plot that will keep me from getting anything done. So far, A Study In Emerald has been the best, it made me smile the entire time I was reading it. There's just something about stories set in Napoleonic through Victorian era England that I love, and adding Great Old Ones into the mix is a recipe for happiness. So far there have been a lot of ghost stories, too, which is entirely fitting for this time of year.

I love ghost stories. When I was a pre-teen, I had a book called Ghost Words, at least I think that's what it was called. I can't find it in Amazon, so either I've got the name wrong or it's long-since out of print. I can't remember the author's name, it was just some young adult book that I picked up at a used bookstore, and it entranced me. I read it three or four times, and I'd probably read it again if I still had it. Somewhere along the way I lost it, or maybe decided I'd outgrown it. It was a very sad little story about a girl who had been given a name that her mother saw on a tombstone, and the ghost of the girl who had originally had the name. I was captivated by the horror of the ghost's existence; there was some passage where her foot started to fall apart or something like that, and I loved the creepiness of it. It shaped a lot of my current taste in books, to be certain.

I think that the main appeal of ghost stories is that whether the ghost is malicious or benign, there's always a sense that they are a ghost due to some sort of tragedy. I'm very drawn to tragedy in writing and roleplaying (to the point where I mock myself for it), and ghosts fulfill that need perfectly. Not only was their life cut short for some reason (for ghosts are rarely people who simply died of old age), but now the spirit lingers on in life for some reason. It's quite touching.

Someday, I hope to write a really good ghost story, but until then I'll settle for reading the works of better authors.


  1. Marilee J. Layman10/19/07, 1:18 PM

    AJ, you decreased the font! I'm old!

  2. Whoops! I don't know how that happened. I've been doing the tiny captions for below the pictures... and somehow it made the whole post tiny. It didn't look that way when I was typing it last night. I should be able to fix it :)

  3. Marilee J. Layman10/20/07, 4:28 PM

    And you did, thanks!

  4. Actually, I made Chris do it. I couldn't figure it out myself. It looked like the proper size in the Compose window, and I don't know enough about HTML to figure out the HTML window.

  5. Marilee J. Layman10/21/07, 1:31 PM

    Well, thank Chris! You know that Chinese he's learning may come in handy for the next job.

  6. The general consensus is that Chinese is a good language to learn for business purposes. But! It has other uses as well. Yesterday our friend Scott came over to get a ride to D&D, and the first words out of his mouth were "I need both of your help!" Turns out there's a girl that he wants to ask out, and she studies Chinese, so he wanted us to tell him how to ask her out on a date in Chinese... ;)

  7. Marilee J. Layman10/22/07, 1:58 PM

    Ha! I've seen that kind of request before!

  8. I gave him some pointers last night and he's supposed to ask her out today :D