The Best Book I’ve Read in 2017

It was just no contest in the Mama Kat writing prompts this week. October is evidently National Book Month. Who knew? I’ve got 2-3 books going at the same time (as usual). But my favorite book by my favorite author. . . I’ve already read it twice this year.

Joe, you had me at Martha Quinn. Yes, I know that’s well into the book, but it had the potential to go all to hell before that, and I’m a massive literary skeptic. Once you brought back a vision of my favorite MTV V-Jay I knew you wouldn’t let me down. And you didn’t.

I read Heart-Shaped Box back in 2007, but eventually forgot to keep looking for new releases. My loss! He’s always published as Joe Hill, and it was a decade before he even told his agent his full name was Joe Hill King.

For those of you who have perused my bookshelves over the years: No, I have not lost my mind (yet). It turns out all the twisted under-the-stairs, in-the-cellar creepiness of my life-long favorite author, Stephen King, was passed along to his son Joe. Luckily enough, Joe also got a gift from his mom for building deep characters of both genders and all races. His books are AMAZING, and don’t need to be read in any certain order. Just READ them!

Even Grown Kids Say Funny Things

There are some fantastic prompts this week at Mama Kat‘s. It took me a while to narrow it down, and I may do a couple of the others just for fun! But I’m stepping outside boundaries just this once to share a couple of things my sons have said or texted within the last week.  Aaron will turn twenty-seven next week and John will turn nineteen next month.  Even though they are far apart in age they are very close, and look eerily alike (except the hair).

Aaron’s hair is military-short, and hasn’t felt a comb since middle school. John’s is now long enough for a man-bun, and he’s fairly  proud of that. I’d planned to include pics of my sons here, but this is the screen I get, and it won’t let me scroll to anything else. I can’t even make a phone call or listen to a voice mail! Help!!

I can’t even attach the screen shot I took, but it only has three sections: Photos, notes, and phone favorites. And none of them are complete – ARRGH!! Going to try turning it off and back on, and if that doesn’t work my trip out tomorrow will NOT be pretty!

So John’s statement was earlier in the week. He said, “I was made for college!” I suspect all of his teachers K-12 would agree. He needs to be in charge of his own schedule, take the classes he enjoys most, and live in the squalor of a Freshman boys’ dorm for a year. I’d nipped at his heels like a yappy dog for years. Now he will see the cause and effect of all his actions. With UofL’s diverse campus he’s making friends everywhere he goes. If he was taller at age three I’d have just dropped him off on campus instead of Mother’s Day Out, and he’d have done fine. He’s going to love college as much as I hated it, and I couldn’t be happier!

Aaron was finally texting me what he’d like for his birthday – I gave up somewhere between X-box games and Raspberry Pi – and I couldn’t find the games he was looking for. I found things that were close, and texted those back to him. He replied, “Yes, autocorrect is harder while holding a baby.” Yes, especially a drooly teething one who has been watching Mommy and Daddy use phones and computers since birth. Are there drool-proof electronics cases or covers? All suggestions appreciated!

Bat Out of Hell

After hearing of Tom Petty’s passing, especially as prolonged as it was by the confirmation of brain death, I was not ready yet to watch the Tom Petty documentary my husband had recorded recently.  I need to listen to his music a bit more before that. We compromised by watching a Meatloaf documentary we’d each half-watched.

I remember hearing this song for the first time Spring Break 1984. Of course I’d seen Meatloaf in The Rocky Horror Picture Show every Saturday night we didn’t have something else to do at midnight. But I had no idea he’d started in musical theatre and rather unwillingly become a rock star!

Bat Out of Hell was a fantastic album! So many truly perfect songs. I do adore songs with clever lyrics, no matter the genre. I love The Beatles – every word is distinct. I simply cannot endure Bob Dylan. In fact, I bought a children’s book today at Goodwill just so I’d finally actually know what all the words to Blowin’ In the Wind are. I love it.

But I’d been hearing the phrase “Bat outta’ Hell” my whole life. More often after I turned sixteen and started driving myself down the gravel lane to my grandparents’ house. My grandfather would hug me hard, smelling of tobacco, dirt, sweat, leather, and mint. I’d give anything to smell that again. It was the smell of love – of someone who accepted me just the way I was. He only complained that I drove too fast – “like a bat outta’ Hell” – and always told me to stand up straight. Considering my current medical issues, his was probably the best medical advice I was ever given! I hate that this is the best picture I can find right now, but I am trying to organize my dining room/office/craft space (about the size of a dorm room) and there are piles of important stuff everywhere!

Anyway, I asked my husband if he knew the origin of the phrase “bat out of hell”. It’s always best to ask him first, since if it’s historical he can ramble on about it for a good fifteen minutes. He really should have been a History professor. If not for the busing experiment in Louisville (TOTAL failure – only increased private school population) that’s what he’d probably be doing. Odds are he’d have a PHD in American History with a focus on the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Instead, since their last name started with B, my husband and his three brothers were all taken from a school they’d spent their Freshman and Sophomore year attending (and could ride their bikes to) to a school where the priority was not being sliced open in the bathroom. No one cared what their grades were or if they went to college. But here’s what Urban Dictionary (I tried all other sources first, I swear!) had to say about “bat out of hell”:

Bat out of Hell was a common rural expression in the southeast US a half century ago. Meatloaf originated the expression in 1976 or thereabouts with the mid-70s Zeitgeist eponymous album “Bat Out of Hell.” The expression ‘like a bat out of hell’ has been in common UK-English usage for decades meaning to fly, usually figuratively. Bats have been associated with witches and the occult, and therefore thought to originate in the bowels of hell, as they fly quickly as if in panic, to make the comparison with a bat flying out of hell for anything going recklessly fast would seem quite natural and likely to be a country idiom prior to being recorded in print.
Look at this maniac driving behind me!! He’s coming at us like a bat out of Hell.
Well, that’s pretty much what I took it to mean. Probably the only time I’ve hit Urban Dictionary and not said, “EWWW!”
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