Riding through a Zoo Day
To start off, I dare say that the summer this year is bugging me. I never would have thought this, but winter tends to be better for my allergies than summer and it has nothing to do with pollen. See, it is so humid right now and I have a strong reaction to mold. So, all this humidity and rain when it happens is going out of its way to kill my ability to think and breathe. Not to take away from anyone else suffering seasonal allergies and what not. Mine go all year long and from time to time make me question the logic of living in a state with all this moisture in the air.
But that is just something that I live with and has nothing to do with today’s thoughts…
I considered a number of different things to consider this morning. Among them a bike ride we did yesterday. It was a bit different than a normal ride for me. We didn’t have a specific destination in mind, so we were out to see how far we could go before our butts started to hurt. Yeah, this is the curse of iron horses as much as meat horses. The saddle tends to get at you after a while. I imagine it has to do with few positions to shift into while moving and what not.
And then I considered going into a comic collection I recently finished. I had picked up the first volume of The Mask (Darkhorse Comics 2004) based on something I had read on another writer’s blog not too long ago. Took me some reading to get through it but it was a fun time. To set matters to right, the comic bears resemblance in structure to the Jim Carey movie that came out some years ago. Sure, some of the characters exist in the pages and the Mask is still the Mask, but that is a far cry from the way the story plays out. It was a fun romp that took a gangster style crime story into a dark tunnel of weird you wouldn’t normally expect. Granted it wasn’t really a crime story per se, though the setting fit that. It was more like a distorted fable warning of the dangers of power and getting what you think could be a blessing.
But all that aside I really plan to delve a bit into Jim Butcher book Brief Cases (Ace 2018) again, namely the story Zoo Day. This is the last story in the collection and what I consider one of the best out of all of them. And that takes into consideration the story Day One (a hero story of victory over self and insurmountable odds, one of my favorite kinds of stories).
In Zoo Day, we start out just in the perspective of Harry Dresden and all his insecurities pertaining to his daughter; all the things a father goes through on a regular basis with his kids. We’re grounded in the thoughts as humans and our own human failings. No matter how powerful we may be, we are still just human.
If that had been all the story played out as, it would still be a decent story. But Mr. Butcher played around with our perceptions by giving us three different experiences in three separate perspectives. Maggie (Harry’s daughter) and Mouse (his temple dog) are also given their own adventures and perspective during the course of the day. All three perspectives are part of the larger story and tied together while at the same time being separate incidents with their own arcs.
The execution isn’t new, we have seen it down in many other mediums as well as within different stories. That doesn’t make it an easy thing to do. And it can fail in so many ways. But here, it gives us so much more of the Dresdenverse, pulling us into the Chicago Harry inhabits.
The interesting part of the story as a whole is that it is the human’s stories that play as the side stories. Even as we see their struggles first, it isn’t until we come to the main arc that everything falls into place. It is the most profound moment in Mouse’s time in any of the books. And it is made even better as we are given a taste of the past as well as some thoughts of what might be coming into the future.
Which brings us back to the beginning. (yeah, I am digging for some deep profound thoughts here). Our daily lives are chopped up into so many different story arcs. All of them pulling us in different directions and many times it feels like none of them make much sense on their own. But in the end it is everything tied together in a larger story arc that pulls the story of our lives into something we can look back on and say WTF. Or something…
If you enjoy these stories, consider leaving some coffee money in the jar or you could buy a book or two. Either way helps keep the stories flowing.