Literary Inspiration: Duma Key

Duma Key Main Collage

Or Pet Sematary II: The Golden Years: But not Maine this time; Florida. ¬†‘Twas too weighty a title, however, so Duma Key it was. ūüėČ

So for those curious as to how I’m doing on my friend Julie’s reading challenge – terribly! I am doing terribly. I’m not even 10 books through the 24-strong list of challenge themes, and that’s in part because I keep picking gigantic tomes like this one, another 700-page Stephen King bruiser that takes you from Minnesota to Florida and back again, with stops at Insanity Isle and It’s Raining Frogs Junction in between. ¬†I think Duma Key nicely satisfies the “Cover art that draws you in” test Julie laid down for the challenge – I particularly like the partially submerged, holographic lettering of King’s name.

Duma Key Cover Collage

The basics: Duma Key is about – and told from the perspective of – 50-something Edgar Freemantle, construction company president, formerly of Minnesota, now of Duma Key, Florida. There are a lot of “formerlies” in Edgar’s life at the beginning of the novel – former job, former marriage, former¬†body, the latter down one right arm following a gruesome workplace accident. ¬†But it’s not so much the physical afflictions – the amputated arm, the pulverized ribs – that trouble Edgar’s mind, it’s Edgar’s mind itself, which, damaged just as badly as his physical body, turns toward anger, confusion and random, violent outbursts in the wake of his terrible accident. ¬†Most of the people in Edgar’s life stand by him during this upsetting time, but many do not.

After his wife leaves him, one of Edgar’s therapists asks him if he ever enjoyed any kind of creative outlet as a younger man. ¬†Edgar replies that before he devoted his life to the construction company that made him a millionaire many times over, he liked to draw, had even once entertained the notion of going to¬†art school. Agreeing that art is an important part of both physical and mental therapies, the doctor suggests Edgar take up drawing once again, and maybe seek out a major change in location while he’s at it.

And so Edgar moves to Duma Key, Florida, a rather runty, overgrown spit of land clinging desperately to the Gulf Coast, taking up residence at a gigantic, rose-hued house-on-stilts he affectionately dubs Big Pink. Inspired by the gorgeously lurid Gulf sunsets, Edgar begins to paint.  At night the creeping tide makes the shells that build up beneath the house clatter together, and they sound like bones.  Or voices.

Duma Key 1

And I won’t go any further than that, because to do so would ruin the Kingsian journey and that aggravatingly persistent – but still enjoyable – feeling that you, the reader, are being inexorably driven toward something you’re not entirely sure you want to discover. It actually reminded me very much of Pet Sematary in that way – another story of family, those we’re bound to by blood and those by choice, and the grim decisions we’re forced to make to preserve those bonds. ¬†Also ghosts, the discovery of a late-in-life mentor type, middle-of-the-night visits from should-be-dead people, a sassy, prescient old person, and endless marches through claustrophobic underbrush.

Also a lot of Surrealism – of the artistic variety, although I think that’s a pretty apt descriptor for the entirety of Duma Key. ¬†I definitely felt like my head had been messed with a trifle after I finished the book, a comfortably uncomfortable feeling that lets you know you’ve really discovered something special. ¬†Very enjoyable, even if I “Whuuuuuuu?”‘d the ending hard. ¬†Wouldn’t be a Stephen King novel if the final pages didn’t leave you deeply perplexed, I suppose.

#TahaniTime

#TahaniTime

Anybody else out there watching The Good Place?  Very funny (and sweet, and enlightening, and thought-provoking) half-hour sitcom starring Kristen Bell as Eleanor, a woman who, upon her completely ignoble death Рflattened by a boner pill truck while bending down to retrieve an errant bottle of Lonely Gal Margarita Mix that had rolled out of her shopping cart Рis sent to The Good Place, a heaven-ish type neighbourhood filled with nothing but pleasant people, pleasant surroundings and pleasant, pleasant pleasantness, instead of The Bad Place, where she most likely belongs.  Because Eleanor in life was kind of a dick, although her time in The Good Place really begins to bring her around.

Anyhow, tangent there, because this manicure has nothing to do with Eleanor, but rather Eleanor’s gorgeous glamazon of a next door neighbour, British socialite and It Girl Tahani Al-Jamil (played by actress Jameela Jamil, who I’ve never seen in anything before, and I simply don’t know how, because she’s just fantastic.)

Tahani actually begins The Good Place as Eleanor’s nemesis, a smothering and seemingly insincere neighbour who makes everybody’s business her business and name-drops more often than she blinks. ¬†But Tahani’s also deeply insecure, and all the mentions in the world – that time she brokered a peace accord between her friend Kanye, her good friend Taylor and her¬†best friend Beyonce, the year she spent as Baz Luhrmann’s muse, the $60¬†billion she raised for charity – can’t compensate for a lifetime of emotional cruelty from her cold socialite parents. ¬†But lord, does Tahani try. ¬†Tries Eleanor’s patience, for one, although it quickly becomes clear that Tahani is the real deal – a genuinely good (if occasionally insufferable) person who lives – and lived – to help others. ¬†And hey, if she could snog Ryan Gosling at the Met Ball while she was doing that – twice – then so much the better! ¬†It’s hard to stay mad at that, and by the end of the first season (second season coming soon!) Tahani and Eleanor consider themselves friends.

One of my favourite things about Tahani, though, is her gigantic, enviable wardrobe of flouncy and floral – girlfriend wears an honest to goodness Belle dress to a first-night gathering in The Good Place, hosted by her, of course, because ain’t no party like a Tahani Al-Jamil party! ¬†She’s quite the fashion plate (although she laments that her modelling career was so regrettably short-lived; seems her bosom was simply too ample for couture, the poor dear.)

These nails depict one of the many, many, many floral dresses Tahani wears on her adventures about The Good Place, a dusky blue number she pairs with a floppy, wide-brimmed hat, afternoon gloves and a picnic basket (stuffed with morale-boosting maple butter scones she passes out to the other residents following a bit of neighbourhood strife.)

Anyhow, big recommendation on The Good Place. ¬†It also stars Ted Danson, and another group of fabulous unknowns – William Jackson Harper, D’Arcy Carden and Manny Jacinto among them, and they’re all freaking hilarious (particularly D’Arcy Carden, who plays Janet, a Siri/Alexa-like informational assistant in The Good Place.) ¬†Trust me, just watch it – it’s great. ūüôā

Blood in the Water

Jaws Full Hand

Hey look, it’s my boy Jaws! ¬†Always fun to catch up with my favourite fiberglass shark, with a cameo from the outstandingly tacky anchor print blazer the asshat Mayor of Amity wears as he’s dooming his island-bound constituents to death-by-shark.

Slightly tangential, but I miss the Jaws ride at Universal Studios Florida with the fire of 1,000 exploding oil tankers. ¬†Ah, to smooch that germ-ridden mug just one more time, as I did on our honeymoon (and maybe five or six other times in my life, but this sweet shark kiss happened on our honeymoon. ¬†Mr. Finger Candy was very understanding.) ūüėČ

Smooching Jaws

Measured Meows

Kitten Measurement Collage

Bahahahahahaha! ¬†There’s no such thing! ¬†Fellow cat lovers, I don’t know about your fickle felines, but when my cat starts going off, it’s about the furthest thing from measured as you can get. ¬†We’re talking meows (also mews, rrawows and merows) that break the sound barrier. ¬†It’s kind of insanity-making!

These cats at least seem to be taking a more measured response to life. ¬†I purchased this adorable little set of ceramic measuring cups from ModCloth years ago, but I see these best-seller kitties are still available on their website. ¬†I’ve actually never used them for their intended purpose, as I figure the first time I do I’ll snap somebody’s tail off on the edge of the sugar canister, but they’ve been a cute decorative item, lined up (or stacked and leaning) on my kitchen window.

And so in keeping with the decorative spirit of these measuring cups, I decorated my nails with some matching kitties.  Cute!

Kitten Measurement Awkward

Blast From the Past

Blast From the Past Fingers

The 1960s called Рsomewhere, a family, dreaming of a future that looks like the Jetsons, is missing the pattern from its Formica kitchen table AND linoleum.  Thank goodness I found it here on my nails, in only THE most fetching and trendy shades of the decade, avocado and harvest gold (my grandparents had appliances in both, actually!)

July Band of Bloggers

BOB 2nd photo

As mid-summer approaches, my mind drifts to vacation times, getaways or mini excursions out and about.  One-tank trips.  Parks to explore.

Do you take a summer vacation or do small getaways?  What do you have planned?  If not, what would be your ideal vacation or retreat?  What are your favourite local haunts?  Give us some places to hang out!

No real summer plans this year (or any year; I don’t do summer very well) save just getting through the dang thing.

But!  My dream vacation?  The mere idea of which gets me up nearly every day at the butt crack of dawn to trawl the pool or pound the pavement in the hopes of whittling my arse down to a Doom Buggy-acceptable size?  The dream that is so potent, it practically comes with its own smell?

Disney. ¬†Disney World, actually, classic Orlando styles (don’t get me started on the incongruities of someone who wilts like a pansy in the heat vacationing in central Florida.) ¬†I used to go just about every year with my parents when I was a kid, and indeed, it’s where Mr. Finger Candy and I enjoyed two weeks of blissful – if humid – honeymooning, but we haven’t been in years.

Time to rectify that in a major way. ¬†And we can start with something I have ALWAYS wanted to do, but which my parents – bless their otherwise terrifically indulgent souls – could never quite manage, 13 straight trips through my favourite place on Planet Earth, the Haunted Mansion. ¬†I’m trying not to hype it up too much, or denigrate all of the other very, very important moments that have occurred in my life (graduating university, getting married, owning a home) but I think it’s going to be the very best day of my life. ūüėČ

And not like they weren’t a lot of work or anything, but I’ll be sporting these nails when I do eventually get there, my second go at recreating the Mansion’s iconic Damask wallpaper, complete with eerily shifting eyes.

Haunted Mansion Fingers

I am not going to lie…as summer starts revving up…I am catching myself daydreaming not only about vacation, but also fall scents. ¬†I am sure it may be too early for some and others melt fall scents year round, but I must ask…where are you planning to order your fall smell goods from? ¬†It can be vendor wax, candles, bath and body or perfumes. ¬†Just spill!

Save a pending Sniff My Tarts custom order, 3/4 of which is mint-based (so more winter there) I have no outstanding orders. ¬†But I’ve always wanted to get in on The Bathing Garden’s gore-geous collection of Halloween-themed bath and body care. ¬†I’ve been so impressed with my two orders thus far, and I can’t wait to see what beautifully creepy little items they come up with for the upcoming haunting season.

Please feel free to answer these questions in the comment section below.

And we hope you’ll visit these Band of Bloggers blogs and help support the blogger community!

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Deb at It’s Always Something

Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast

Jessica at The Meltdown Blog

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Lauren at LoloLovesScents

Liz at Furianne

Sandra – me! – at Finger Candy

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