Well. It's been a long time since we've talked. You've had very good reason to wonder if I vanished off the face of the planet, and in a certain way I did. The fault, gentle reader, was entirely my own, and for that I do apologize. Making the Jar a priority when one is essentially holding down two jobs is a difficult thing at best. I've tried to resuscitate this little excursion into the eerie and existential a few times in the past, and you would be forgiven for thinking this is another halfhearted (heh) attempt.
But you would be wrong. This time is truly different, and let me number why...
1) Ten days before Christmas 2011 I suffered a hemorrhagic brain stem stroke; as such events go, it was comparatively mild, but it rendered my right arm and leg virtually useless. More important, it led to a stream of physicians, nurses and therapists who informed me with no small amount of solemnity that I was a very lucky bastard, as such events frequently affect such involuntary reactions like breathing and heartbeat. When enough people intone "You almost died," it does sink in after Expert #11 or so.
I am told that my recovery has been nothing short of miraculous. Yes, I would recover from said stroke, but it would require months of housebound convalescence. I was given a catalog and told to refit my apartment with accoutrements for the disabled. When I went out in public, I was to use a walker. And driving? Fuhgeddaboutit.
Fuck that shit. I was driving myself in five days after coming home from the hospital. I returned to work after a month. There are miniscule daily improvements that clearly indicate I continue to be on the mend. Most days I feel as though recovering from a bad traffic accident. I walk without a cane; catch me on a good day, and people will tell you they don't even notice a limp. And my handwriting, once nonexistent, is legible. I'm coming back, baby.
Doctors tell me my brain is rewiring itself, because...I read. A lot. And constantly. If I sat around and sucked on the glass teat for hours a day, such wiring would be questionable. But I owe that practice, engrained at an early age, to my parents, which leads me to Point the Second...
2) My father passed away about ten days ago; he was preceded in death by my mother back in 2008. Together they instilled in me an almost ridiculous love for the printed word; the thousands and thousands of books that still reside in my parents' house are mute testimony to that fact. They will be mute no longer, as...
3)...this blog is now reborn with an emphasis on old books, genre literature and comics, and, true to my icons such as Rod Serling, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson and (of course) Robert Bloch, it will expand in scope to cover Dark Fantasy and Speculative Fiction. These gentlemen were not easily pigeonholed, and neither shall I be. Over the past few months I've been enjoying the hell out of exposing a dear friend to classic novels of SF, and I realize that, damn, there once was a time when I was awfully conversant in that genre too. Besides, the world scarcely needs another blog reviewing new films or covering recent developments. But looking backward from a perspective of years - especially when you're unexpectedly reminded those years are finite - that I can do. I promise to be pithy, personal and entertaining...and I will look at the occasional wild and wooly old movie, but on my terms. Oh, and there will be a podcast. It's about time I draw upon decades of acting and radio work, dontcha think?
Two of those four gentlemen I referenced are still very much alive, and damnit, so am I.
There's work to be done. So let's get to it. And welcome back to the Jar.