Friday, October 19, 2012
Lance Ward is the Minnesota Author in the Spotlight this month on Booksnob. Lance has written an autobiographical graphic novel about his dysfunctional life growing up. Lance's book Kmart Shoes is a no holds barred, adult look back into a unpleasant childhood and it is riveting. Please join me in welcoming Lance Ward.
Lance Ward Guest Post
I hate "Kmart Shoes". I wrote it so I could purge myself of the demons that had been haunting me for years. It didn't work. What it did was force me to truly confront the feelings and anxieties that have driven me mad at certain points in my life. So instead of opening up with my feelings and stating some bullshit about how I've grown and this has been a life changing blah blah blah, I'm going to talk about some of the good memories.
There was a drive-in theatre in the town of Wyoming, just three miles north of Forest Lake. It was called The Hub, but to me and my sister, it was Disneyland. It was always packed with people back in 1978, people from my neighborhood, people just like me. Folks who wanted a night out on the cheap; a night free of pretention. That night, for us, started in our little kitchen, when my Mom would start the popcorn. She would cook it the old-fashioned way, on the stovetop with oil. She would take our old stew pot, and transform it from the holder of stewed meats, and into the magical container from which salty, buttery goodness would spring. And only one batch would not do for the drive-in! Oh no! She would make at least two delicious batches, carefully pouring each one into an open, brown grocery bag. And we weren't allowed to touch it until the first movie started. That was the rule. So we would sit in the kitchen, smelling our future, salivating at the prospect of eating it while we watched grease spots slowly form on the bottom of the bag. And this would be the last thing she would do before we left. When the last batch was lovingly drenched in butter and just slightly over-salted, my Mother would cinch the bag up tight, and we would go, quick as we could, the few miles up highway 61 to that appropriately named automotive cinema.
As we would approach the entrance at dusk, the looming screen seemed other-worldy. Like a monolithic gift from Hollywood so far away. Hollywood wasn't a real place to me. Like New York or Los Angeles, these places existed only on television and in the movies, side-by-side with my fictional heores Han Solo and The Hulk. But here was the drive-in! A giant screen dropped in the middle of nowhere to bring us not one but three(!) movies for the low, low price of that's my Mom's department! I didn't care about price! I was too mesmerized by the long line of cars waiting to get in, and even more suprised by the amount of cars already inside! The whole town must've showed up! I always saw kids I knew. They had a playground on the side, and let' face it. Little kids don't have the patience for films like "The Eiger Sanction" or "The Verdict". Hell, I barely had the patience for the first half of "Close Encounters" when I was ten. But the drive-in wasn't about the movies or the popcorn. It was about letting go of reality; letting go of life. For those short few hours, we could forget about our lives, our real lives, and be a part of something social with no pretense. We were all there together, to do the same thing, in the safety of the dark, in the comfort of our own vehicles. We were all the same in the dark, with the glow of the screen the only thing to light up the joy in our faces.
If you would like to win a copy of Kmart Shoes please click here: Kmart Shoes Giveaway