Tommy Walker

I’m Becoming Mary Bell’s Mom

As in Mary Bell, the 11-year-old girl who murdered two boys. Her prostitute mother used to carry around a scrapbook which she seemingly always had her nose in. I have long seen the resemblance but today took an ominous, accelerated turn when I began reading Monstrous again after last finishing it in the past week.

I wanted to try something different, and was eager to accept the homeless kid’s recommendation of H.P. Lovecraft, but all my local library had was an anthology of stories inspired by Lovecraft, rather than written by him. None of the thousands of other books, either there or here at home on mainly my wife’s bookshelves, has had a force behind it pushing it forward for me.

A paragraph once in my doghouse is starting to look good again. Recently I’ve seen the Howard Hughes story being framed in terms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, as opposed to the rich-guy-lazing-around explanation I had grown up with. With the acceptance of this new truth came the begrudging acceptance that I had gotten it wrong, a particularly acute embarrassment in that this paragraph immediately followed the single most beloved paragraph in fifteen years of one of my readers. But now I am being reminded that I personally know someone who has been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and you could substitute his name for ‘Howard Hughes’ and the paragraph would still hold true. It was true of him before the obsessive thoughts got him sent to a psych ward, and has been true of him in the many years post-crisis, suggesting a phenomenon deeper than OCD can explain.

Me and Howard Hughes. He didn’t have to do anything he didn’t want, and since he was free from want he did nothing.


September 8, 2013 - Posted by | Monstrous | , , , , , ,

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