I am an inmate and literary biographer of L. Andrew Cooper and thus produce commentary on his philosophies and works. I enjoy the task some of the time.
I use stock photos that are free and do not require attribution, as far as I can tell. If I’ve violated something or someone, do let me know, and I’ll repair as possible and/or desist.
Today I’m to give perspective on memory as a predator while considering stock image itself, the bland icon, as herding those memories likely to have preyed on a great enough number of people.
The image so iconic that it becomes a bland parody of itself concerned Cooper at the end of his never-to-be-published second novel (he thinks it’s crap, and I would agree it’s not for audiences looking for a pleasurable read). The presumed-gay (but he never says so) central character stands on what amounts to a pedestal with a major female character, and they kiss passionately as the universe spins around them. Amor vincit omnia! Except there’s nothing to conquer and no context for love… just an iconic moment, as if on film, as if everyone knows that one kiss that conquers anything else that could matter at that moment.
As devastatingly vapid as they can be, those images aren’t as destructive as the images that follow you.
A cliched joke makes you realize how much resides behind the cliche, how many bad things happen on so many simple sofas, and all sofas go somewhere to die, and in their graves they still hold the potential for more bad things, as evil haunts graveyards, not graveyards too but graveyards especially.
Do you have a bad memory involving a sofa? Think about it. I’ve got one. Cooper’s got more than one.
On some people, memories leave an imprint, a tattoo no laser can remove, but on others, they leave fully-animated, interactive series, and where the sofa goes, these people go with it, and what happened between the sofa and them happens over, and over, and over again, maybe with changes triggered by some new screaming in the headspace–I hear it can vary. But one thing is certain. The animation moves like a wily cat, saber-toothed, hunting you in your dark places. And it will find you.
These predatory, animated icons, emblazoned by memory, interrupt the flows of thoughts more and more as characters in Cooper’s fiction unravel in the facts of some horror or other, usually some horror that is, in the end, their own pasts coming to devour them. And the key, of course, is to make–however bizarre the fiction and the recurrence of the memory–some kernel of the character’s memory relatable, some core bond between people, some experience everyone has had in some variation, detailed in its presentation but universal in its essence. Power comes from predatory stock.