The woods were not lovely, though I would grant them both dark and deep as we wound our way closer to Philadelphia to see Jackson’s Unreal Circus and Mobile Marmalade. It was the best of all possible worlds: Halloween had come and gone, but the weekend stretched ahead and with it, a chunk of treasured, unsupervised adventuring.
Four young girls, wandering through the woods, toward a far-off circus. Toward the future, though they don’t know it.
In “Blow the Moon Out,” (August 2015, Giganotosaurus) we travel to 1957 — as much an alien world as you may ever encounter. Here,the sunlight looks the same but everything beneath it is different, transformed. You think it’s an iPod, but it’s a transistor radio; you think the US is winning the space race, but Russia is sending a dog into the stars. You discover that things taken for granted can no longer be so — what is good and legal and right in our world is not. Women are not in possession of their own lives, their own bodies.
Four young girls, running from things they fear, into things they do not know. Four young girls who are each part me, and each part possibly you. The girl who wants to go to space. The girl who has run away from home. The girl who doesn’t understand her own body. The girl who cowers from men, because the one man she should be able to unquestioningly trust has broken her family with his very own hands.
This is a story about Laika — and don’t we all have a Laika story. It’s a story about being shot into space and having no idea if you’ll survive. (Of course you won’t — survival isn’t the point, is it?)
It’s a story about love and hate, about peace and war. A story about things we know and things we cannot admit. A story about becoming who we have always been, and allowing others to accept us for that.
It is a story about running away to join the circus, and perhaps discovering we’re already in the circus. About finding — and accepting — our place and the things we have done.
Stephen King and Margaret Sanger and Ellen and Charles and Joseph and Hem and Elvis and Laika and Robert and Alison and Scott and James Dean and Dean Dean and Paul Anka and my grandparents and my mom.
Especially if they don’t know it.