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The Drawing of the Three Discussion Week 1

the-dark-tower-gunslingerWhen we left off with Roland and his quest for the Dark Tower, Jake dies because Roland was faced with the “second-most agonizing choice of his life” and chose to sacrifice Jake, his symbolic son. Jake tells Roland, “Go, then. There are other worlds than these.” Roland palavers with Walter. The Man in Black tells Roland about the past, the Universe, and Roland’s future with a deck of Tarot cards. The cards show the Sailor, which is Roland’s card, The Prisoner, The Lady of Shadows, and the Death card… these are the three that Roland will find through the three doors he will find along his quest.

The book ends with Roland watching the sunset on the beach of the Western Sea. The Man in Black is dead. Roland’s future is unclear, and less than 7 hours later we begin The Drawing of the Three on that same beach.

Like the Sailor card from the Tarot deck, Roland wakes to the “grating sound of water with a throat-full of stones.” The “monstrosities (or lobstrosities as they will later be called) the-drawing-of-the-threeand their chant of “Did-a-chik” “Did-a-chum” seem to be symbolic. Roland is crippled by them, hurt in a way that he has never been hurt before, losing the first two fingers on his dominant hand (right). This injury is unexpected, in more than one way (to Roland and to the Constant Reader). Why do you think King choose to do that? How does this change Roland? Do you think that the Prologue was a set up for the tone of the novel? Or do you think it was Ka?

King’s influences for the Dark Tower series are The Lord of the Rings; The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly; King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table; and Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came. Do you feel like the Gunslinger showed these influences? Do you feel the influences in The Drawing of the Three?

In The Gunslinger, Roland is shown as a broken, damned man. One who possesses enough humanity to understand his actions, yet lacks enough humanity to change the course of his actions (Ka). Do you think that Roland has grown as a result of his actions? Especially his sacrifice of Jake?

What do you think about Eddie Dean, the Prisoner? What do you think about Roland’s thoughts while riding piggy back in Eddie’s mind?

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The Gunslinger Chapter 2 Answers to Discussion Questions

The Edition I have of the Gunslinger. :D

The Edition I have of the Gunslinger. 😀

Do you blame Roland for the deaths in Tull? Yes and no,  Roland knew that if he stayed, even though he had ample opportunity to leave, that it wouldn’t end well, but he stayed to face it head on–that’s his nature at this point in the story.  Was there another way or were the events predestined? He could have left. “Why would I feel bad?” he told Brown. Does his lack of compassion over the killing change anything?  I don’t think he is void of compassion. I think he feels things he just doesn’t let his feelings stop him from doing what the things is right. 

Chapter 2 Questions:

  1. What do you think about the High Speech? What do you think it means to Roland–Past and Present? I think the High Speech connects him with his past, with his father and the face of his father, so to speak–connects him with what he’s about–his quest.  High Speech is also a reminder that the world has moved on. “It is not your place to be moral,” his father says. “Morals may always be beyond you.” I disagree with that, but understand why his father said it… he believes that this will make Roland formidable–a force to be reckoned with because when it is required for Roland to put his morals aside to do what must be done he will be able to do so. 
  2. What do you think about the flashbacks Roland has of his world before it moved on? It’s important as backstory. It’s also important because it helps keep Roland on task, for good or bad. When Roland first starts his quest as a Guslinger his view is romantic, but as you read further on you realize that now Roland feels that his quest is required… he is the last Gunslinger. 
  3. Discuss Roland’s boyhood teacher and mentor Cort–What kind of man was Cort? How does Roland feel about Cort now? Cort is an asshole. One tough son of a bitch. He’s a warrior, tried and true, tough as nails, and lacks compassion. Everything is a lesson to Cort, and he is a hardcore teacher because he has to be. Roland hears Cort in his head, when he needs to less his romantic tendencies I think he thinks of Cort’s teachings when he needs reassurance. I also believe that Cort was such an asshole because he had to be in order to train future gunslingers–tough loe.
  4. Why do you think Roland clings to the traditions from Mid-World, from before the world moved on? Love, honor, duty, loyalty… The world and traditions of Mid-World are similar to King Arthur, his knights, and Camelot. I’d cling to those traditions as well, especially since the new world doesn’t seem to be one where qualities like loyalty, duty, and honor  take precedence.
  5. “While you travel with the boy, the man in black travels with your soul?” What do you think about the prophecy? Roland is given this prophecy repeatedly, even though he believe it he brings Jake along. Do you think it’s Roland’s singular vision, or that he believe the prophecy to be predestined made the prophecy come true?  Roland has already started caring about “the boy.” He knows as soon as he meets Jake that it’s important, and that it won’t end well, but he keeps Jake with him. I think the Prophecy is one more thing that Roland believes is predestined, but it’s actually Roland’s choice. Just like in Tull. He is the only one who can choose, he can change his fate, destiny…
 

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Week one Discussion Question Answers for the Gunslinger

The Edition I have of the Gunslinger. :D

The Edition I have of the Gunslinger. 😀

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” That first line!  Who is the man in black? Why is he in the desert? Why is the gunslinger following the man in black? Who is the gunslinger? Talk about a first line that hooks the reader… my favorite first line ever, well, except for maybe  these two:

  • A screaming comes across the sky. —Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)
  • You better not never tell nobody but God.—Alice Walker, The Color Purple

The first line of the Gunslinger grabbed me the first time I read it back in the late 80’s, and then the second time I read it in the early to mid 2000’s, and again now. I want to know what happens next. Who they are. Why they’re in the desert. And why the gunslinger (who we don’t know is Roland until about 100 pages in) is following the man in black.

I love the Gunslinger, on a whole, and the actual character of the gunslinger–Roland of Gilead.  In the beginning of the novel Roland is weary, isolated, suspicious, serious, and has a keen eye for detail. Roland is a bit of an anti-hero.

Roland’s quest: Roland is the last gunslinger, like a knight but Roland’s grail is the Dark Tower. In order to save his world, as well other worlds, he believes that he needs to reach the Dark Tower and climb to the very top of it in order to talk to the god or demon that resides there. Mid-World, Roland’s world, is unraveling and the beams are breaking, the fabric of reality is changing because of this, and Roland has to find a way to save all worlds. Roland doesn’t know where the Dark Tower is, he just knows he has to complete his task.

King’s writing style compared to his other works is quite a bit different. The Dark Tower series is more fantasy, western, and a bit of sci-fi, with a little horror. Much of King’s other works are more horror/thriller, though some of his books I find more along the line of thriller. King is a natural storyteller, and that comes out no matter which book of his you’re reading. It’s one of my favorite things about King’s writing–I always get sucked in to the world of the book.

Walter O’Dim. The man in black is the antagonist, the “bad guy.” I won’t say much else at this point because of spoilers… except the black clothes are symbolic of the good versus evil element of the story… is the gunslinger, symbolic of good… protect and serve, and the man in black is bad, wearing all black, we don’t know who he is, or what he really looks like…he’s the man in black, hiding behind his robes.

 

My favorite part so far are the descriptions, and details like “Hey Jude” playing, and as hard as Roland tried to hide it, to bury it, he’s a romantic at heart. My least favorite part so far is that I am having a hard time not spoiling anything for those of you who haven’t read it.

 

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Dark Tower Reading Order List

The Dark Tower Series

The Dark Tower Series

Good morning people in blogosphere. Destination Me. YouTube. And anyone else who might be reading this blog post… Today is the official start of my creative projects.

Working on Creative Projects

Working on Creative Projects

I have read over multiple lists of how to read The Dark Tower series and connected novels. I’ve read all but one book that is on the lists. Everyone has a different opinion about the order in which to read these books.

Stephen King Bookshelf

Stephen King Bookshelf

The connected books list is long, but some books are vaguely connected, others are directly connected. I’ve chosen the books that I feel are directly connected. I’ve put all but 6 in the order in which to read, the last six or connected and I’m going to read, but I am just not sure of the order… So I’m going to go by publication date for those.

  1. The Gunslinger (DT #1)
  2. The Drawing of the Three (DT #2)
  3. The Eyes of the Dragon
  4. The Stand (uncut version)
  5. The Talisman
  6. The Wastelands (DT #3)
  7. Wizard and Glass (DT #4)
  8. Salem’s Lot
  9. The Mist (Short Story (SS) found in the Skeleton Crew)
  10. IT
  11. Insomnia
  12. Rose Madder
  13. The Regulators
  14. Desperation
  15. Everything’s Eventual: LIttle Sister’s of Eluria, Autopsy Room 4, Dinky Earnshaw, Mr. Sharpton, Skipper Brannigan, and The Road Virus) SS: these are Short Stories
  16. Bag of Bones
  17. Hearts in Atlantis
  18. Black House
  19. From a Buick 8
  20. The Wind Through the Keyhole (DT #4.5)
  21. Wolves of the Calla (DT #5)
  22. Rita Hayworth & Shawshank (SS from Different Seasons)
  23. Lisey’s Story
  24. Song of Susannah (DT #6)
  25. The Dark Tower (DT #7)

Here’s where it gets tricky: To me these are connected directly, but I am not sure of where they fall… so I’ve put them down by publication date…

The Shining 1977

Cell 2006

N (SS in Just After Sunset) 2008

Under the Dome 2009

UR (on Kindle) 2009

Sleep Doctor 2013

And… If you have the un-revised version or the revised version of the Gunslinger then once we’ve finished these I’d suggest you read the other version. I can’t find my non-revised version… Hopefully, I’ll find that version before the end of the project. 😀

***NOTE: If you find that after the first chapter you’re not so sure about the Gunslinger, hang in there… It’s a series worth reading… I’ve been hooked on Roland, the last Gunslinger, since the late 80s… I’ve read it multiple times. 😀 The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three are, by some, considered to be more of a Prologue to the rest of the books. Though you can see the progression of King’s writing style, he started The Gunslinger when he was nineteen and over thirty years passed between when the first sentence and the last sentence of the series was written.

 

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Dark Tower Series Read Along Schedule

The Edition I have of the Gunslinger. :D

The Edition I have of the Gunslinger. 😀

The Dark Tower is just a little over 200 pages, so if we split it up during the weeks of September, we’ll have just a little over 4 weeks to read the first book. Don’t worry if you read ahead or it takes you a bit longer to finish the book. 😀

September 1-4:Chapter 1 pp 1-69/70

September 5-11:Chapter 2 pp 70/71-122/123

September 12-19: Chapter 3 pp 123-153; and Chapter 4 pp 154-206

September 20-30: Chapter 5…

September 27-September 30: Final Discussion.

I’m going to post the Discussion Questions soon.

If you have any questions or suggestions please let me know.

 

 

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Working Towards Living a Creative Life

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(this was the info I found for it, it's Not My image... It came from Google...

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(this was the info I found for it, it’s Not My image… It
came from Google…

I’ve been sick for the past three weeks. The worst kind of cold/sinus/flu thing. I’m not well yet, but I feel better. Over the past few weeks there was little in the way of working on my novel in Scrivener. However, I worked on the novel in my writer journal. I worked on characters, plot, setting–I journaled about it. When I finally got back to writing I missed and was so excited to be back to writing. I felt guilt for not actively working on my novel.

I started my fourth week of the 12 week self-guided course from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.” So far the course is helping a great deal. Between the “morning pages,” the tasks, and the check-in’s, not to mention the artist date’s, I’m facing all kinds of things I had no idea were even issues, or that the issues were as bad as they are. I am filled with self-doubt. I self sabotage. I have writer impostor syndrome.

However, as I found my way through the “morning pages,” and went on my artist date’s, read the information…as well as working in my personal journal, my “art” journal (which is more of a sketch your life, illustrate your life, smash journal, etc), and my writer-ly journal I found myself being more and more creative, wanting to be more creative even if I couldn’t manage to do as much as I wanted to do because I was sick–I made a new list of things I’d like to accomplish over the next few months: DIY projects around the house and yard, urban sketching, poetry workshop, plotting workshop, making my journaling work for me in a better way, in a more productive, creative way.

embrace struggleJournaling helps me me in ways I wouldn’t have imagined. Things are more vibrant and positive. I’m more passionate about life, my pursuits, relationships, and I’m more open. My communication skills are improving. The more I work through the Artist’s Way course, the more in depth my creativity becomes, the more open I am to figuring out why I have so much self-doubt, why I sabotage myself,  and how I can fix it. Working on the self-doubt isn’t easy, it means facing things that are painful. Insecurities. Memories. Fears. And working through those takes courage, but it’s worth it. I find myself procrastinating. I get distracted. I make excuses. Reluctantly I find myself avoiding my writing, or my art, because I’m afraid that it won’t be good enough. Perfectionism. What if it sucks? What if my beta readers laugh? What if I’m really not that talented? Maybe I should just give up now before I embarrass myself. But as the words flow onto the page in my journal I find myself more and more open to the possibility that perhaps it’s just the fear and the insecurity that are causing me to have so much self-doubt, or to feel the self-doubt to begin with, or that I’m procrastinating and self-sabotaging because of fear. Plain and simple.

These insights into my creativity, or lack thereof,  are a start. A start to opening the door to living a more creative life, to being successful in my creative pursuits, and to opening myself up to being successful in my creative pursuits. I knew I had a few issues because of the self-doubt,  writer’s block, procrastination, and yet I didn’t think it was as bad as it was until I began reading the “Artist’sWay.”  As hard as it was to sit down every morning, in the beginning, and work on my morning pages it made me see how important it was to be open, to let the words flow. I also realized that the resistance was because of fear–insecurities are rooted in fears. I’m not really a fearful person. Even when I am I sort of “fake it till I make it kind of thing.” You can only do that with writing for so long before the insecurities/self-doubt eat you and end up with writer’s block–at least, that’s what I’ve experienced. Facing the resistance head on isn’t something I’ve done in my morning pages, the morning pages are just about being honest with myself, but I have been facing those fears, insecurities, and self-doubts in my personal journal.

The Writer's Life

The Writer’s Life

When you think about it, really think about it, the procrastination, self-doubts, insecurities, perfectionism, and avoidance are all about fear, based on fear. I’m not a fearful person at heart though, I’m more of a sassy, feisty, stubborn, determined, and resilient kind of person. So I buckled down and wrote it all out in my journal. I wrote and wrote and wrote, honestly and openly about my fears. Facing some of those fears gave me insight, but it didn’t fix the problem, but it did make me realize and understand that I’m the only one holding me back. I am the only one who can do something about it. I decided to take mini-artist dates, do little things to make me feel good and be more open to being creative. For example, I went outside with my cup of coffee and a book of poetry and read for 15 minutes, I went outside with my coffee and my sketchbook and had some fun, I went to my hair stylist and had my hair done (washed and styled), I ordered myself a few cute little diary stickers and 2 new watercolor inserts for my TN (Traveler’s Notebook), as well as a cute little magnetic bookmark with a coffee theme. (I also ordered one for my daughter with a unicorn on it, she’s an artist and a welder, as well as being a single mom who suffers from depression and like me, she suffers from self-doubt at times.) Twice a week, on the first day of the new week of the self-guided course and halfway through the week I go on an artist date and take myself to Starbucks. One of those dates I journal and the other day I draw and watercolor. I love watercolors. I love journaling. So I’ve decided to combine the two and try doing what people are calling “Urban Sketching,” or “Illustrate your life,” or “Sketch your life.” It makes me feel really good when I do that. I don’t make my artist dates about my novel, I make them about something else creative. The more creative I am, the more I want to write, the more I feel able to write and less self-doubty.

I’m amazed at how much it has actually helped me with the writing.

 

 

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What Failure has taught me as a Writer

For about two weeks, the week of Christmas and the week of New Year, I was in a funk. I was filled with anxiety, overwhelmed and stressed out, depressed, and I could not write. I didn’t have the time, or when I did have the time I was too stressed out and overwhelmed to write. I sat down at the computer and as much as I wanted to write, I just could not get the words out–and they were there in the dark recesses of my overworked mind, but they were buried underneath the chaos of my life (the holidays, obligations, anxiety, depression, etc., etc.). So I felt like a F.A.I.L.U.R.E.

Writer’s write. That’s what we do. If you can’t write then what?

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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