The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
July 18, 2020
On July 4, it seems there were more than fireworks lighting up the Tehachapi skies. People were asking each other if they had seen the very bright lights over Double Mountain, Tehachapi Mountain, Stallion Springs, Bear Valley Springs and town. It’s been many years since I watched lights pulse at the tops of mountains and come tumbling down the hillsides. Lights dazzling my eyes and imagination. I therefore dedicate this book review to unexplained phenomena.
As a child, it was the story of “The Birds” that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I had a pet parakeet in a cage. Black birds did line up on the telephone lines and on the playground equipment. It was unnerving. Alfred Hitchcock developed his movie from Daphne Du Maurier’s short story “The Birds & Other Stories ” published in her collection “The Apple Tree” in 1952. Neither the written or movie version ever explained why the birds congregated in such numbers to attack animals and humans. It starts and then it stops, leaving one to wonder when it might start again. Over the many years, I have been nervous every time I see birds line up, wondering if this will be the next time.
M. Night Shyamalan left us in the same position with “The Happening.” The trees rebel against man. And then stop. But we never know quite why. At least in his movie “Signs” we figure out there are actual aliens and discover the aliens’ weakness to rid ourselves of them. The book the children read in the movie is real. “Glimpses of Other Realities” was written by Linda Howes, an American investigative journalist and filmmaker. Illustrated with over 300 photos, drawings, maps and documents, it added a lot to the mystique of the movie and covers crop circles to human abductions. It is available today at a hefty price online, starting at $200 and up. Can books become movie stars?
So I opted to find something more affordable. “The Circles” by Robert Wagner caught my eye. Probably because it starts out at the birth of Red’s daughter Rose. While his newborn and wife sleep in the hospital, he steps out for a breath of fresh air, only to be confronted with some kind of jellyfish shapes floating down from the sky and creating a circle that kills everything within it.
Circles form across the world, eating up the earth and chasing people in all directions. The circles are studied. Bizarre plants begin to sprout and grow. Are they alien lifeforms? Then an even deadlier enemy emerges. A microscopic enemy. And Red and his family move through one nightmare after another, as the Circles widen and destroy.
Like a Stephen King ending (sorry Stephen, but I’m not the only one who thinks your endings can be weak) this ending may deflate you a bit. But as in any creative experience, the imagination is triggered and grows from the ideas of others. It gets one thinking about what else is out there? How do we survive on this blue ball? Or will we? What are the adventures or dangers just around the corner of our universe? What are the adventures and dangers right in our own backyards? Who knows? But it is worth keeping our eyes open, paying attention to anomalies big and small.
Our world is a wonder in itself. And what did Rod Serling tell us? “It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the idle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. The Twilight Zone.”
Sleep tight Tehachapi!
Good books. Good reading.
*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.