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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

Reading in the Dark

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: September 2009

I believe I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been a voracious reader since the age of four. I recall hundreds of nights spent huddled in bed, devouring pages upon pages with the ferocity. Infinite solace was discovered in the stories I read, from Agatha Christie, Herman Hesse, J.D. Salinger and later Palanuick and Klosterman. Sometimes I’d read all night, finally forcing myself to set down my book when the first hint of sunlight crept through my window. Something about reading in low lighting especially appeals to me, although I’m not entirely sure why. Sadly, as I got older, (and especially once I purchased a laptop) I slowly began replacing books with DVDs.  I’d awake in the morning to the music of the main menu screen on a loop, and pull the blankets off of me, trying to recall my dreams from the night before. I’ve noticed that the movies I watch before drifting off never fail to creep into my dreams in some way or another, which isn’t always a good thing. Last week after falling asleep to Baron Munchausen, (an amazing movie which you should all see if you haven’t already) I had a dream in which Robin Williams’ head was floating about, berating me for my life decisions while John Neville (in full Munchausen garb) attempted to knock him from the sky. I awoke with a start and promised myself I’d stop falling asleep to movies, and begin reading more instead. Reading graphic novels or comics is a nice transition for this, and the past few days I’ve been spending my nights reading the latest volume of collected works of Fables, entitled Dark Ages.

 If I walked away from reading this with one impression it would simply be this: Life is hard for fables! Seriously! After the war against the Adversary is over, Geppetto is trying to adjust to life in Fabletown, and it’s not going well for him or the other fables. Having the war all wrapped up, over and done with just seems too easy, so it’s fitting that something would go terribly and horribly wrong in the Homelands. I’m not going to give it away, but I will say that this new happening seems unconquerable, and definitely the most sinister twist yet. The writing and artwork are engaging and complimentary as usual, but Dark Ages does seem to exude a slightly melancholy tone. There are new characters introduced, and a fairly significant character is killed. A new group calling themselves the Society of Seconds is formed, with a clear parallel between first generation immigrants of Fabletown and our reality. It’s clear that this volume of Fables is a tool to prepare the reader for the next big story arc ahead, and to that end it works very well.

 So dear readers, that’s all for this week. Remember, the myth about reading in weak light being bad for your eyes is just that- a myth. 

Arielle Mullen