Monday, September 1, 2014
This Book Will Change Your Life - Where Alligators Sleep by the Sheldon Lee Compton.
Travel. Read. Rinse. Repeat. Reflect? We are on a beach and yes that makes us dicks. Which is to say we have been travel and read and beach since June, and work, yes, sure, but travel, and read and beach, rinse, repeat, all summer, and so we are dicks. The summer is over though, one last weekend of sand and books and such now behind us and the children back to school tomorrow. It may have been the busiest, if not, best summer in some time, and with each stop there was read. Slouching Towards Bethlehem in Los Angeles, Conquistador of the Useless in Philadelphia, Apocalypticon and Annihilation in South Carolina, and so many other books, and beaches along the way, including, but most definitely not limited to Where Alligators Sleep by the Sheldon Lee Compton. What struck us between train rides and books and so many drinks, is that a summer is comprised of moments, eating donuts in L.A. strip malls, listening to podcasts about Robin Williams while running on the beach, the endless Gin & Tonics, and that these pieces while wonderful in and of themselves, merge and twist into something else: a picture of something whole, nuanced, and full of details that make for a life lived. This too is what Compton has done with Where Alligators Sleep, pieces of flash and fiction, that linger in your brain, but then as a whole become something, a picture of what it means to be a man, full of violence, work, death, relationships, children, and what it means to be alive and part of the world. That Compton writes so descriptively, including passages like: "In two years I'll be gone. My end and your beginning. When you speak to people, any people,try to be polite. Don't look directly at them. Keep your tone soft and never let them see what you are, where you came from. It most likely won't help, but try anyway. And have a son. Teach him to hold his head high. Teach him to take it like a man. Teach him something, anything;" or stands so ably among his peers, especially the Appalachian writers such as Charles Todd White and Rusty Barnes, is merely a bonus, that his work may just change your life, is certainty.