A legend in the book industry, whom I’m just getting to know, noted that seeing Raskolnikov in my dreams might just, um, suggest something.
We were discussing Russian literature, and it’s true–I really do dream of that ultimate scene of indecision on the bridge sometimes.
Actually, this man was far too kind and well-mannered to say anything, but after revealing the make up of my dreams, I decided that indeed it does say something about me.
I know I tend toward the dark side, not in my personality (which I think is rather sunny) or the day to day details of Real Life (which include soccer practice, making treats for two schools, homework supplementation, and time with my husband).
But when I write or read, it’s to the dark side I inevitably go.
A contributor on the greatest mystery listserv in the world offered one explanation for why she reads this type of fiction. It says a lot about why I do, too–and possibly you.
Or maybe not? Below please find Margaret Koch’s words. And whether you agree or disagree, please add a few of your own.
Perhaps you’ll even allow me to turn them into a post!
I read because after working several decades as a talk-therapist-type psychologist, regular conversation seems pallid…about the stuff of everyday life, and pleasant, but my attention wanders if the emotional content isn’t intense. I read because if I try to watch TV, the commercial-to-program ratio drives me mad. I read about murder specifically because ever since Cain slew Abel (who probably was not an easy sibling to like), murder has been the standard for the one act that must be solved and resolved. It’s more drastic than cheating on a spouse, more final than divorce, theft, bad taste, and in this shallow celebrity-clogged culture, more interesting than which Kardashian got a bikini wax. And politics will make one crazy, and Dancing With the Stars will kill brain cells because of the inane hype.
Whether it’s a cozy or a dark tale of terror, it matters. We still regularly kill each other. Why? That speculation and the stories spun about it are fascinating.
Margaret Koch is a recently retired psychologist, who’s an avid reader and who has recently turned back to her first love, writing.