Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Work of Art (2)


Owen's Damascus Road

Owen's Damascus Road

posted Sunday, 18 February 2007

As he wended his way through the endemic mists that coiled about the mountainside, the warrior thanked God that he had been able to negotiate the morasses along the upward path. His thigh boots still showed the signs of the clinging weed, like the remains of a consumptive giant’s deep cough.
Owen the Curd sweated. The higher air seared the flesh remaindered by his outfit with the slow-moving funnels of its relative cold. He’d been told to leave the Lower Lands as a representative of the Curd race because, self-evidently, the God could hear prayers more easily further up the mountain. However, nobody had dreamt that, because of the mists, the God would not be able to be seen so readily as from the villages in the valley, during such two-way conversations which, in these parts, prayers had long since become. Nevertheless, being a race particularly hard of hearing, many misconceptions had grown up concerning the God’s own responses in those interchanges. Hence, Owen’s mission.

As he squatted on a tussock to catch a breather as it passed by on the turgid air flows, Owen visualised the God he had seen so often before: a moving face in the sky timelessly forming and unforming like clouds of flesh; the deep inarticulate thunder of the voice, much as a doctor’s must seem to patients in the local hospital; the forks of lightning jabbing across the cumulus eye-sockets; the groping fingers of roiling bone lovingly reaching out to those who prayed ... Once the image was fixed in his own flittering mind, Owen spoke:

‘O God, I’ve been sent to pray for victory in the war against the Iron Men. Us Curds need your help ... Please answer our prayers ... This is the make or break of our race ... We’ve never before prayed so hard ... If you like, we’ll make it our very last prayer ... If only you would please, please answer this one prayer…’

Suddenly, out of the mist, there strode another warrior, towering above Owen, with muscles that rippled down the tightening cords of his neck and chest (bare, despite the nagging chill). The huge two-handed broadsword, actually scabbarded in the flesh and bone at the side of his body, sparkled by its own light as it was withdrawn.

‘Why should I answer you Curds, and not those prayers spoken with equal earnestness by the Iron Men?’ came the roar, plucking syllables from the thunder like seeds from a pomegranate.

Owen was disturbed. This could not be the God of the Curds, for He did not resemble in any way the visualisation of the memory in the sky. Immediately suspecting it was a mortal representative of the Iron Men themselves, on a similar mission as himself, Owen stood up, his wet-weather gear cracking and crazing over with a strange geography of Ice. He would have to undo all the toggles, before he could get to his own broadsword. So, he decided to play for time:

‘Because our cause is just.”

“The Iron Men’s cause is just too.”

It was a mystery to Owen how there could be two just causes in one war. This could not be a God in any shape or form. By now, he had disentangled his weapon, and slew the taller warrior with one fell swoop; his aim was true, slicing with consummate downward ease through the skull, the chest, and, finally, the swag of intestines hanging between the legs. There was no chronology of wounds, just the instantaneous act. The two halves split asunder, scattering a purple clotted brew in all directions. Owen thanked God that his wet-weather gear was still relatively intact, as the other warrior’s innards filled-in between the ice-limned countries on his sou’wester with the bays and gulfs of tropic spume. Owen’s face, however, was open-mouthed and, as a drowning swimmer would involuntarily gulp the bitter salt of the waves, he found himself sicking downwards with the outcome of his sword-stroke.

Eventually, in a state of utter exhaustion and choking upon the phlegmy knot of his own body’s anti-viral defences in overdrive, he staggered down the mountain, the mists left behind stained pink. Alas, he found all the Curds and Iron Men had killed each other off in even nastier ways than he could have dreamt after a lifetime of warriorhood.

As a brave man, Owen would have committed suicide, if his own body had not already done the job for him: he realised, in his garbled way of thinking, that there need not have been a war at all if both causes were indeed just. Or even unjust, for that matter.

The thunder rumbled above the unpopulated valley, as if God were moving his furniture.

(published 'Mystique' 1990)

A Work Of Art

A Work Of Art

posted Saturday, 10 February 2007

When I first met Wrzesmian I took him to be an eccentric asylum seeker. Accustomed to finding him in the library's reading room stooped over a book, I assumed that he was quickly learning the English language so as better to fulfil the requirements of a Curriculum Vitae. Jobs were scarce unless the job you wanted was one nobody else wanted to do.

Wrzesmian’s ambitions were evidently grappling with the task of being a middle-aged man finding that the next necessary step in his destiny was to make a living for himself in a place where even his much younger fellow asylum seekers found it difficult to cut swathes beyond the path that led between their digs and the Job Centre.

His coat was buttoned to the neck whatever the temperature inside or outside. Its lapels were extra-wide in a fashion that was perhaps more appropriate to his own country. His long nose was ever in that book I found him poring over. But when I eventually spotted his eyes, I knew he harboured a spirit that just needed persuading out into the open so that it could unfurl its wings and fly. Or flick its svelte tail and swim.

“Good book?”

I’m sure I could have thought of a better opener. It being an English language textbook, as I already assumed, the thought of its status as a ‘good book’ seemed somewhat trite or unnecessarily patronising. So worried was I, I failed to accompany my enquiry with a smile, even a nervous one.

I didn’t, therefore, blame him for the steely stare he returned.

The next time I saw Wrzesmian in his place at the reading room table, I forgot the constraints of such a place regarding the ease with which one could hold a conversation. I still do not understand how we were allowed to prattle on at such a length, although perhaps we were indulged because others were genuinely interested in listening to what we had to say.

This time I opened up both with a smile and a passably efficient item of conversational bait. Looking back on it, however, it was a natural continuation of my opening gambit of the previous occasion I had seen him. Meanwhile, memory plays tricks and it may have been the third or fourth such occasion. It doesn’t matter because what I did say upon the day in question opened the floodgates at last.

“Sorry, I assumed it was a book on learning English," I said, "but I see there are full colour plates of art in it. Are you an artist?”

He then spoke perfect English, if with a tinge of an Eastern European accent. His nose was now raised and I could see his full face as he spoke: a living portrait by a modern artist, giving many angles of his personality in one treatment as it were. I would never have painted it thus. But one could not escape from the reality of the treatment: this was truly him. Truly Wrzesmian.

“No, I am not an artist. But I do seek the definition of a work of art.”

I nodded, speechless. This would not add to his Curriculum Vitae. I itched to advise him to a better course if he should still need a job. I thought about questioning why he was an asylum seeker, failing to pay much attention to his showing me various items of art that his book depicted. I was worried. Never speak to strangers, my parents had always warned, and this was good advice throughout life, I guess. But withdrawing from contact at this point might have been more dangerous than the initial making of contact itself.

“What is the purpose of defining a work of art?” I eventually decided to ask, having chosen this question from a thousand others I had toyed with.

He seemed to weigh this question heavily upon his heart. He sighed thickly. “I need to establish what is a work of art and what is a ready-made?”

“A ready-made?” I knew nothing about art so was unable to help the conversation along other than by enquiring echoes.

“Well, Duchamp’s pissoir is art – people view it in a gallery – and how does that differ from, say, a Picasso or a Van Gogh?”

Ours was a seaside town and I made what I now consider to be quite a clever remark:

“Is the sea a work of art?”

“Yes, yes, yes!” he almost shouted. I looked around ruefully hoping we were not disturbing anyone. But the lines of students were still bent over their books and no doubt a few others still crouched within their carrels.

I was amazed at the sudden rush of enthusiasm to Wrzesmian’s face. My ambitious leap beyond a mere enquiring echo such as ‘pissoir?’ or ‘Picasso?’ or ‘gallery?’ or ‘ceramics?’ had evidently woken him to the possibilities of further conversation. Perhaps he wanted to run a gallery as a career and such studies would after all look quite good on his Curriculum Vitae.

“The sea,” he continued, “is a very good example. It is a living being that moves, changes mood, with a colour of a silky sheen one day, a blue canopy the next or a grey morose gruel the next. It takes light or colour or mood from the sky above and the often unseen weather that embraces it. Much art could never be contained in a gallery…”

He hesitated as if he was wandering beyond his brief, given the assumption that he actually wanted to work in a gallery. A painting of the sea would be relevant, but the sea itself?

We soon returned to our own quiet affairs, as a certain few of the other readers shuffled impatiently giving the impression that they were at the end of their various tethers. I left the library soon afterwards. It was a late winter afternoon where the sea was of that ‘grey morose gruel’, I noticed. I later gazed quizzically at the urinal as I hissed steamily upon it.

The next time I encountered Wrzesmian in the reading room there were luckily only a few, if any, other readers, unless the carrels hid more lowered temples.

He took up the thread at the point we had left it:

“I have managed to add to my CV with the help of your mention of the sea.”

I nodded. This was the first real confirmation that Wrzesmian was actually preparing a Curriculum Vitae. I felt proud that I was helping an asylum seeker with worthy credentials for mixing well with the community in which he now found himself. One who demonstrated kinship with a native like me by extending such polite gratitude implied by his statement.

“Good luck with it. Do you paint things yourself? It’s not the weather for painting the sea, I fear.”

I was now a top class athlete in the gymnastics of conversation. This also involved the ability to stay silent so as to give my co-conversationalist his own head of steam.

“I watched the sea all day yesterday,” he said. “That’s why I wasn’t here.”

I nodded, without even a single enquiring echo. I had noticed he wasn’t here yesterday. It had quite perturbed me to see his empty place.

“There was a lot of what I first thought to be driftwood,” he continued, “flotsam and jetsam, I know not which … framed paintings … and ceramics that should never have been able to float, and things which came out of their frames, split from corner to corner. Antiques … and long-lost masterpieces, I’m sure. I managed to struggle down to the shoreline but they floated in and out just beyond my reach. I got wet but I still couldn’t wade far enough to the nearest things many of which I happened to recognise from this book…”

He held up a photographic image of the book: ART AS WORK. A very rare book, as nearly everyone who needed to read it could not afford to buy it. And it was always out when you tried to borrow it from a lending library, unreservable, thus intrinsically unreadable. It was a legendary book, spoken about in hushed whispers in many reading-rooms worldwide, even, no doubt, in the library of the Eastern European town where Wrzesmian was born and brought up.

I cried (later, secretly, at home, not in front of the other readers) following my next visit to the reading room. Wrzesmian was not there and I knew, by instinct, that this was the first of many occasions when he wouldn’t be there. I hoped he would rediscover his book. If memory serves me right, he did hold that book once and even showed me pictures from it. But that was so long ago, now, I can never be sure.

The photo he had held up that day was a photo of a framed painting of a book, a painting covered in what appeared to be seaweed.

“Ceramics?” I often mumble to myself, as I leave the reading-room.

He never realised, I guess, that I was a retired local fisherman, as I had never given anything of myself away to him. I was Wrzesmian’s stranger.

(above written today)

Death where is thy sting?

Death where is thy sting?

posted Thursday, 8 February 2007

It was a fat-barrelled fountain pen with a nib worth dying for. Not a Parker, not a Waterman, but a sweetly handleable embossed implement containing an ancient quill as its skeleton: a long core sprung against the nib’s base with its sharpened bony spindle reaching beyond the well of ink, while remaining clean by means of a filter or baffle towards the eye of the nib. The wielder of the pen aimed the cloven nib-end above his skin as if it were an antique tattooing device – soon to write an indelible phrase about an assumed indelible life. He had earlier fondled the cap as he unscrewed it from around the nib, unaware of the quill poised as a second fluted point to pounce out on a hair-trigger not only to enbed words into the skin but suck the same ink back in a gulp of self-syphoned poison. Poison letters from a poison pen. The double jab made him wince – one jab to inscribe, the other to proscribe. The words would remain for the rest of his days, so short-lived they must have been written with invisible ink: silently echoing the same words carved upon a hidden heart where the permanent ink was indistinguishable from its haemorrhaging message to nobody.
(Above written today)

The Resident (2)

The Resident (2)

posted Friday, 26 January 2007

It was the usually sub-conscious sense of roof that made life cosy and safe: a feeling hidden behind other instincts that home was not only where the heart was but also a place whence one could view the happenings of the world with an assumed immunity.

A damp patch had drawn Joe Carter’s attention to the all-important roof. It was a shock, therefore, when it dawned on him, following expert advice from a chirpy roofer, that the whole roof needed replacing … with all the resultant lack of security that then seeped through the various cracks of Joe’s mind. Worry flowed, like water, by default. Even foreign wars crept nearer to his street. Weather a constant news item. Winter ever on the horizon.

“It needs doing, Mr Carter, but don’t worry we shall make it fast at all stages of the work,” said the chirpy roofer, after quoting the cost of the job, but quickly spotting that the potential customer’s priority was more than just the money involved. It was as if one roof needed to be replaced with a new roof in a single swoop, tiles and battens and membranes and ridges fully in place like a conjuror’s trick, instead of the laborious dismantling and mantling that were actually involved.

Joe gave the go ahead to the chirpy roofer, despite the nightmares Joe envisaged. Indeed, without preamble, he was able to dream dreams before even dreaming them and, following the commencement of the building work, this phenomenon grew. One such dream became a separate entity: a dream Joe called ‘the resident’ that often squatted on the bedroom carpet, preening itself for the time which, it somehow knew, would inevitably arrive for its turn at being a dream within Joe’s head rather than outside it. A different dream was already in Joe’s head dreaming the potential onset of this new dream that Joe called 'the resident'. The Resident Dream on the carpet was an image of his bungalow’s roof with two proud dormer eyes like windows – a documentary view through a number of stills of the piecemeal de-tiling and the bare areas open to the elements with the work only slowly progressing as a result of contrary weather conditions that hindered the work itself as well as ensuring that any cracks in the armour left by the chirpy roofer in media res were laid bare to the selfsame weather conditions … eventually causing a tortured drip from a crack in one of the ceilings which the chirpy roofer (it has to be admitted) quickly rectified during the night (following Joe’s emergency call for assistance) by unkinking the membrane that should never have been left kinked in the first place, thus having earlier allowed the melted snow to run down a surreptitious vertical channel of least resistance between chimney-stack and dormer but now, after rectification, fluidly sloping into the gutter instead.

If time were our friend, one could convey the comical side of Joe’s character and the debates he had with himself as to his own dire anxieties. The chirpy roofer learned to handle his customer in the shape of Joe Carter by having more time to do so than us because of the delays in his work caused by the weather. The conversations between the two of them, perforce, sadly went unrecorded and, inevitably, in due course, unremembered. All that could be judged was that, despite his best intentions, the chirpy roofer’s reassurances fell by the wayside because Joe continued to see the Resident Dream picked out from the gloom of the bedroom by a wild-eyed anxiety that became itself a living creature with a luminous face amid imagined drips ticking like the gold fob watch that this creature kept in the top pocket of its dapper smoking-jacket. It is a moot point whether the chirpy roofer indeed was justified in trying to reassure Joe because he may have been a waster who couldn’t even skin a rice pudding by leaving it to go cold before eating it and Joe was quite right to worry as much as he did about the roofing.

The fact that the Resident Dream continued to develop while still outside the jurisdiction of Joe’s real dreaming process seemed to prove a point that things were not quite as comical as indicated so far. The thing with the fob watch was bodily absorbed piecemeal into the Resident Dream as part of its status as an ever-developing ‘virgin birth’ dream with no dreamer to disown its reality by waking from it and deeming it a dream or, even better, forgetting it completely as one normally does with many dreams. The dream was a mighty castellated dollshouse contraption with eyes softening out from the ill-shaped cracks in the new-laid wooden slats that constituted the whole dollshouse. It was largely nothing but roof. A dream topped by a wooden roof that was also the same roof from top to bottom of the dream. Even the eyes became nothing but inverse teardrops draining away into sock-puppet stitches. A dream too solid to channel within normal dream ducts – thus remaining an indigestible lump of psychic deadwood straddling the room like a ramshackle bridge or transitional shed above a torrential river of time. The dream developed as a narrative of change but remained stolid in its perseverance not to change its shape or existence as a Resident outside Joe’s mind.


“How are you today, Mr Carter?” the roofer chirped as the front door of the bungalow was opened to him. “It’s a nice day today. We should be able to get going a bit faster on your roof, especially as I’ve brought someone else to help.”

He indicated the dark shape behind him that the sunlight could not seem to undarken. This had been an introduction that needed no introduction because two hands had already extended towards each other and shaken.

The door closed after a few unrecorded civilities of small talk were exchanged.

The most frightening thing was that this was no dream. This was just a loose end. A forgotten coda. A lost motive between disconnected intentions. The Resident took out his fob watch and said: “We mustn’t waste the first day of Spring.” And that’s what he did … a curved swoop up to the sloping roof where he sat changing his chirps into cuckoos.

(above written today)

The Resident (1): http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=1044


Sunday, August 29, 2010



posted Monday, 15 February 2010

How many people worry about reading translations of fiction works? Do they avoid them because they feel that any translation cannot possibly reflect the true work itself stylistically? Or do they treat the translation as a new work in itself and judged accordingly? Or do they not think about it at all?

I ask this in the light of linguistic nuances etc in various words.

As a great lover of Proust (in English) (although I have read the first volume in French back in the heady days of 1968) - I am a torn personality on this issue. (As you can possibly tell from my 'real-time reviews', I put a lot of weight on semantics, graphology, phonetics and syntax).

I suppose the question is (acting a bit as Devil's Advocate) -- there is so much good English Literature originally written in English (all of which one will never get through in one lifetime) that it seems counterproductive to resort to reading translations that are (however good a translation) at least one step removed from the original, the original with all its potential nuances of language etc.??

One possible answer to that question --- a translation is a new work in itself and should be judged separately from the original. Indeed, the translator may be more skilled than the original author - or a synergy of the translator and original author is better than the original author in his own language???

I think this topic of 'translations' indicates that nothing is ever an exact science. Religion, politics, literature, business, philosophy, even science itself, all subject to dynamic changes of consensus and individualisation ... all in the attempt to maintain - throughout or via continuous Toynbeean challenges-and-responses - a human need to prevent life becoming 'lost in translation'.

RIDER: This is a lesson for many discussion forum threads, I feel, just as long as the new-fangled interweb provides both opportunity for opportunity as well as dangers of loss...but, whatever you think, for good or ill, the interweb is an already indelible challenge-and-response in the above process.

comments (1)

1. L.P. left...
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 1:49 am :: http://www.twitter.com/weirdscribe
I favor the academic approach of reading a work in its original language. The poetry of the Romance languages is lost in most English translations. Outside the walls of the university, the average reader tends to prefer works in their native tongue. Sadly, there really isn't an emphasis on second languages in America. I recently read that English has overtaken Chinese, and it is rapidly becoming the Latin or universal language of the twenty first century, especially among business classes the world over. 'Toynbeean' reminds me of Ray Bradbury's 'The Toynbee Convector.'

Wednesday, August 25, 2010



We all lived on the outskirts of a wind-infested scrubland: more a child's scatterered playbricks than a town, but we loved and hated each other sure well, because everyone was our parent and spouse and sibling and offspring all wrapped into one.

The heat felt as intense as that in the brick ovens where we tenderised the hairy cabbages and long carrots. Nobody hardly visited us to share the stews we created from next to nothing, but we never missed their company. It was too stuffy to talk, anyway - despite the winds.

Until the circus came.

It came in on us - an army of tents and caravans - across the brows of the sun-kissed hills. Banners and bugles met the desert sandstorms head on and foisted their poles and guy-ropes, like another universe, around our humble hovels. We basked in a new-found shade and saw sights fit to shake us out of our petty self-dissatisfactions.

The clowns were sadder than those in my dreams. One particular talkative pierrot, in a harlequin's hose, informed me that their sadness was an image they had consciously developed so that the punters would laugh the more at them. But this seemed to be an excuse in hindsight and, indeed, I cried to see their make-up petering down their cheeks.

The circus animals were happier than the clowns, beasts of burden set loose to turn somersaults and make mock of those come to watch them. The ones in cages seemed to love their iron bars, as if they knew safety was in such confinement. Their bones, I somehow believed, were physical extensions of such restraints. Some, with trunks, waved them about like creatures from the horror films, such films having been projected in the past by a travelling cinema upon the wall of my uncle's house. Others snorted and brayed with each dusk and dawn, until they were fed and, more importantly, had their huge parts massaged.

The trapezists danced amid the high rigging of the Big Top, some rarely coming down, others just dying up there and a few becoming part and parcel of the texture of the canvas. The safety-net below them was more a cobweb than a trawling device for dead fliers and, I was sure, one day, I caught a glimpse of a giant spider, more angular than a giraffe, lurking in the net's trammels.

My family and I visited the circus every night during its stay. The ringmaster called himself Weirdmonger, but why, I shall never know. He claimed that whatever he said would happen, would happen, however far-fetched. And he was right, I think.

Which brings me to why I'm telling all this.

The night in question was to be starless, as could happen in our climes when the days's dust is still heavy with air. The heat had been fiercer than I could ever recall, the winds stronger, the town's torpor like an over-feasted snake resting and extruding its last five meals. The first sign of night was the sun dipping early behind the hills, silting the haze with baked blood. The sky became streaked with the searchlights of the circus, criss-crossing across the perfect backcloth of blackness with the twirling sword-blades of a space adventure film.

The whole township - together with hermits from the hills - flocked, with blazing stinking tussock-torches, along the valley towards the central ring of the circus site. The band had already taken up a riotous version of "Oklahoma!" The tumblers, acrobats, jugglers and fire-eaters were erecting themselves into towers of interlocking limbs (some of which limbs supposedly separate from their owner bodies and others flaming at both ends). Weirdmonger, with the tallest top hat he had so far worn, stood on his dais, conducting the whole affair with his whip.

I had only just sat down amid my immediate family, when Weirdmonger beckoned to me with each of his fingers in turn.

As if hypnotised (though I wasn't), I stood up and entered the limelight of the Big Top. The beasts careered and honked around me, but I seemed to slide between them as if by magic. Soon, two clowns had me by the hands and they sobbed bitterly. This time I did not laugh or cry.

Up face to face, Weirdmonger was uglier than anything my immediate parents had taught me about sin. He was creased with pain, but a pain he seemed to enjoy.

The words he saw fit to utter were strange, but understandable in the even stranger context. But they became heavy with innuendo, far beyond the means of my immature mind to grasp, like the dialogue in some of those Fellini films so beloved of my uncle. I can still repeat, by rote, however, syllable for syllable, the words he lovingly plucked from the air and to which he gave branding-iron meaning all of his own:

"As you know fair well, dear boy, I'm Weirdmonger. My eyes have been on you at every performance, for my circus needs stars to keep it turning. If you join our world, I have one who can be your simpering bride, one for you to love and be loved more than you can ever otherwise hope to love or be loved. One to love you more than you will ever deserve. And, for this gift of gifts, all you need do is leave your body here and promise me your soul at the end of time, which is further off than a boy like you can ever imagine. A sweet tractable bargain you will agree."

I shook my head silently. Turning to the clowns, my eyes yearned for something they evidently could not give. They stared straight in front of them like manikins, like dummies with no hope of ever retrieving the aid of the One Great Ventriloquist in the skies.

A huge lion had padded near and, from its roaring mouth, there stepped a lady dressed in heavy frills and flounces. But her face was bearded, as if she'd sat in the dark for centuries.

We were to be married before the circus left town.

On the day of the wedding, my immediate mother taught me how I could kiss my bride without choking on her beard and how - when I finally delved beneath her thousand lace layers, revolving hoops, bustles, interlocking corsets and so forth - I could gauge for myself which way further to go. There could be no hard and fast rules until I saw how the land laid. I must expect anything ... and everything.

As I shivered in my bed (for the nights turned colder, the days hotter), I wondered why all this had come to pass. It was like being part of something that was not part of me.

I could hear the safety-net spider clucking in its sleep, even at this distance from the Big Top, and my dreams felt dizzy as if I'd just alighted from the playground roundabout. Sometimes I dreamed of my intended with her beard in curlers.

Nobody could help me now, not even my family the town. I could only try to help myself, but I inevitably thought that even if I could escape the confines of my own body, leaving only independent mysteries to consummate...

Unbroken sleep intervened.

The wedding itself is still a blur. Chimney-hatted Weirdmonger was, of course, Master of Ceremonies. The pierrot clown was my best man and the animals were seated on my side of the congregation beneath the shining undulations of the mighty canvas. This was because there was no hide nor hair of my brothers, sisters, cousins, parents, ancestors. I was on my own and not even that...

The bride had silk ribbons decking her beard, I do remember. She slipped a ring on each of my fingers in turn and then christened me with a wet bristly kiss.

I am now the official keeper of the trapezists, bringing them down in droves from the Big Top's banner flypapers, taking others up there for a short life of flight...

Part of me, at least, knows that all was for the best. The other part I've grown used to ignoring.

Weirdmonger often tells me that life is happiest when you ask no, answer no questions, when you tell no, accept no lies.

My own tenet is that life is saddest when happiness is simply a purpose rather than a reflex.

The endemic winds still abound and my sweetheart often has cottonballs ludicrously caught in her beard. One day, I've been promised, we're to be filmed to show others our wondrous magic reality.

First Published in 'The Standing Stone', 1991

The Two Ways Of Anonymity (revised)

The Two Ways Of Anonymity (revised)

posted Tuesday, 24 November 2009

I have revised my 'Two Ways of Anonymity' (eight years in the drafting), at least partially thanks to a ghost-writer called Alexicon here: http://www.knibbworld.com/campbelldiscuss/messages/1/2904.html?1259082955

The Two Ways of Anonymity

(one) The most common way - to say something you don't want to be known as saying, i.e. possibly for *devious* purposes (which could be spite, nepotism, insult, cruelty, dubious joke etc etc.) -- or publishing pornography, issuing a Valentine's card, hiding one's identity to avoid reputation depletion etc, ghost-writing, being an artisan writer who is simply having anonymous fun on a literary internet discussion-thread, being in a war where identity-concealment could save a life...

(two) A way that is hardly ever used - to make an artistic statement (within the philosophy of Aesthetics), such as Nemonymity,
(i) whereby the fiction author wants some objective view of his work to be made without his name getting in the way -- and I, as an editor, equally don't want it to get in the way when I consider his submission for publication and
(ii) as an experiment in fiction anthology presentation as a new gestalt reading experience (i.e. stories written independently and remaining separate yet somehow more 'together') and
(iii) leading to a brainstorming approach to reviews and critical appreciation and
(iv) bringing fiction nearer to the artist-naming (late-labelling) approach of other arts such as fine arts, architecture, music etc. (instead of having the name on the spine, on the title page and, often, on the top of each alternate page throughout the book) and
(v) trying to bring fiction more easily to an interstitial or between/cross-genre optimum.

I think it true to say that some elements in (one) above bring anonymity into disrepute, a cross which Nemonymous has to bear.

Further input would be welcome.

comments (1)

1. Weirdmonger left...
Wednesday, 7 July 2010 3:44 pm
While writing about 'The Conspiracy Against The Human Race' by Thomas Ligotti today, I decided that a (vi) should be added to the list above, saying: "attempting to reach a state of pure pessimism".

Cerne's Zoo

Cerne's Zoo

posted Sunday, 22 November 2009

From my personal review' of the CERN ZOO book here: http://weirdmonger.blog-city.com/cern_zoo__a_dfl_realtime_review.htm

Cerne's Zoo

"...Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, among others who have contemplated the possibility that souls exist in not only people..."

Another important story that has so far escaped under the radar. A touching and original ghost story about Zoo creatures and the death-bed confession of Cerne Lincroft (Christened thus as he was said to be conceived under the aegis of the Cerne Abbas chalk giant) who once smuggled an elephant with him on an aeroplane between USA and UK because the elephant felt home-sick. However, the story is far more tender and serious than that implies. It has a telling connection with THEORY, too, vis a vis its take on Animism.



After two respected scientists recently proposed that the Hadron Collider is sabotaging itself from the future and a bird escaped from the Zoo's aviary dropping a piece of bread into the Collider's cooling system, it is now good to see that the re-starting of the Collider's process (after 14 months) has gone so well in the last couple of days. However, one must not take things for granted. For example, I dreamt last night that an aeroplane flew over the Collider and dropped an elephant upon it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


posted Sunday, 15 November 2009

From here: http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?p=33848&styleid=35#post33848

Re: Is the Internet something one should resist or embrace?


There is far too much to take in so they focus in upon a few specific things and then obsess about them. Sometimes the obsession is fruitful and positive, sometimes it is negative and polarising.
I think if you find the internet is making you unhappy, you should use it less. You should also set time limits when you use it and only use it for specific planned tasks. And you should stay away from the things that upset you.

I've been giving this much thought. It is very wise.

I tend to use the internet for expressing my fiction in a public way.... and philosophising about all manner of life's angles, original (I hope) and/or traditional.
Hadronic and/or Elizabeth-Bowenesque. Ligottian and/or Rhys-Hughesian. And/or...

This is tied up with a burning creativity (good or bad) and an ambition (but I'm not sure about the nature or goal of that ambition).

Rhys Hughes on Ligotti and Lovecraft

Rhys Hughes on Ligotti and Lovecraft

posted Friday, 13 November 2009

Fascinating take by Rhys Hughes on Ligotti and Lovecraft at link below. The link leads to my initial on-the-hoof Rhombus response, and Rhys's post is just above it. The thread itself starts with an equally fascinating TLO interview with Rhys.



Rhys has promised more on this subject - so keep your ear to the ground.

He is not only a great fictioneer but also a great controversialist.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Piano

The Piano

posted Sunday, 18 June 2006

I don’t know where to begin – that’s what they say when you get into a situation you don’t understand, but you want to get it off your chest as quickly as possible – without, if possible, confusing the direct lines of cause and effect. So, yes, I’ll begin with the effect, because I still don’t fully understand what the cause was … and still is. Or when it started. My wife Alison is none the wiser, it seems.
With most situations of decay, everything decays, except possibly metal or stone. But stone soon enough crumbles in the cosmic scheme of things and if matter gets hot enough metal bends then melts … much like my sense of reality. My sense of reality? It was steadfast, unimpeachable, so blindingly certain, that I couldn’t really believe it when that very sense of reality of mine itself began to bend and melt … before my very eyes. And Alison’s, too, judging by what she says.

Decay is the best word for it. Other people – who have explored the Thesaurus – may use the word Entropy. The natural propensity of life, the universe, everything … toward inbuilt decay. The softening of Creation’s very arteries as they thread – in increasing tangles – the weft and woof of all known reality and truth as we know it. But who had heard of this Decay just attacking one aspect of life? All the rest remaining as steadfast as ever. In this case it was wood alone that decayed. Wood still on trees and wood manufactured into furniture. Wood in buildings. Wood in otherwise still thriving forests. Wood in woodfuls of it, in fact. Woods of wood where the bark began to crumble first, then the inner rings of age, branches crashing to the ground and soon turning to mulch, leaving the leaves as green as when they were growing on the tree. Peppering the soft bogland of the previous wood like emeralds in the moonshine.

Buildings where window frames softened into the likeness of the putty that once fitted the glass tightly within such wood-planed margins. Sash-joints wilting leaving the heavy plumb-lines taut but allowing the panes to crash to the ground, where they splintered into shards fit to kill an army of folk – except by then most people knew what was happening and avoided the sides of building as once they superstitiously refused to walk under ladders. Mahogany tables turned into ghosts of tables. Willow cricket bats turned as willowy as wisps and couldn’t stop the hard red ball from scattering the non-existent stumps. Oaken vats spilled their innards of port wine across the cobbled cellars of our past.

Yet the rest of life remained as steadfast as ever. My sense of reality was only affected in its sensitivities for wood. The feel for knots and shavings of wood. The texture of wood disappeared and became little more than dark custard. Whilst flesh, leaf, pebble, stalk, blood, metal, mineral, air, water, all these things and more managed to retain their consistency of truth. It was just the wood that went.

I promised to start at the beginning. But I failed. Shows how confused I am by recent events. It all started when Alison and I went to a concert. Before that, wood was wood. I carbon-date the change from that evening of the concert when… but let Alison speak. She has a better handle on things than myself.

Yes, he’s right. I vouch for every word he’s said. Except I can see the wood for the trees better than him. He’s a bit loose-limbed in the thinking department where he used to be so hard-headed about things.

Hey, Alison, I may have passed these narrative things over to you so that a new perspective can be given, but no need to imply my thinking arches have fallen. My thoughts are still thoughts. It’s only wood that’s gone AWOL.

Anyway, whatever the case, he’s basically right. The concert was a televised piano recital given by an up and coming pianist, a young lady who played Schubert, Beethoven and Brahms. Or who was due to play these composers, but soon after the third movement of the Schubert – with most of the audience having spent their coughing fits on empty spaces of silence between movements – the lid of the grand piano toppled from its prop with a thunderous crash. I actually saw the prop wilting in the television lights…

Come on, Alison, it was not so much the lid’s prop that wilted as more the lights dissolving it before our very eyes. The keys later soon clattered to the ground like rattling bones. And the sides of the grand caved in. The stage gave way and the poor lady pianist vanished in a smoke of splinters. Splinters that became diamond dewdrops on the TV screens across the country – assuming the screen’s casing hadn’t crumbled first. But we shall never know.

It was never as sudden as all that.

Yes it was, Alison.

No, you yourself earlier said that people avoided the sides of buildings for the fear of falling windowpanes. If all this had happened at once, then there would be no need for this ever-present caution on their part. The windowpanes would have long since fallen.

Hindsight, Alison, is not a luxury I can afford. The events are seen through the filter of my present observation of past events. Unless, of course, things are changing even as I narrate them. And if they are thus changing, hindsight will be duped just as easily as a direct account of events on the spot, like a horserace radio commentary. Back to the piano…

Well, yes, the concert piano was a grand. With open lid and resonating chords that filled the concert hall and also filled the rooms of viewers countrywide. In these parlours where families crowded round the TVs to watch when otherwise they wouldn’t … they must have known, beforehand, that significant events were afoot. Why else would they be watching a dry boring old Schubert piano recital? A record audience for such an event. 30 million in the UK alone. Eager for every note. Eyes twitching away from the screen to view their own surroundings to see if … well, to see if their own upright pub piano was as steadfast as ever. The one where they played Russ Conway ditties as well as popular classics. Not that many families own pianos these days. And, yes, the wood from their own upright pianos began to crack, splinter and crumble and finally mulch itself into shapes like dog manure. The tautened piano-strings remained behind like a harp, where the hammers still desultorily hit them without anyone touching the keys…

I can’t recall any of that, Alison.

Well you forgot my birthday, didn’t you.

I’d bought you a carving by that famous sculptor…

But it wasn’t there was it?

The carving was there, Alison, but the wood it was made from didn’t fill the carved space…

Excuses, excuses.

There’s a terrible draught in here.

Let’s cuddle to keep warm. Touch each other there and there…

Wait, stop, I can hear piano music.

It’s a recording.

Yes, must be a recording.

I hear choking noises as if things are coming to get us.

People coughing between movements, shuffling along in their seats.

But, wait, look at this photograph I took at the concert just before the piano went.

Yes, I can see there is a hole in the pianist’s stocking. END

(published 'Irregular Quarterly' 2004)


The Visitor


posted Saturday, 3 June 2006
This is a full-length novel written during 1973 and, to date, only two people have read it: the author and the author's correspondent whose then concurrent (meta-)comments on the unfolding novel were bodily incorporated in the novel itself during its later stages.
by DF Lewis

PROLOGUE by Des Lewis

For many days, he-who-was-known-as-the-art-Master had loitered through those streets, far from his home and fireside family, searching - in the gruesome cafés, disused railway sidings and forgotten bins - for a sign, some scrawled communication, that art was alive and well, despite the silent ignorance otherwise abounding. I shall say no more than that he did not find it.Instead, he stumbled, one day of slanting rain, into a dark schoolroom where a teacher, with spectacles, gown and mortar board, gestured with a white cane to row upon row of upturned faces, faces innocent and fixed. Their brows were creased in concentration. The art Master took a spare desk at the back of the class, behind a pofaced girl with golden plaids, and he commenced to absorb the room: its black walls and deep ceiling, the smudged panes set high where brown light struggled through … the exercise book resting on the desk before him. Carefully turning the front cover, but not without the slightest squeak, he saw revealed the first blank page, sharp white in the darkness. It reminded him of a canvas before the planting of paint, frighteningly empty. Meanwhile, the archetype teacher, standing before the speechless children, still waved the cane, seemingly oblivious of the art Master’s arrival. His whole being was centred on the one message he was now presumably conveying … but the string of words that flowed from his lips was very difficult to hear, let alone understand.

The art Master imagined himself at the front, in the teacher’s place, stressing to the children the value and beauty of art, perhaps explaining the philosophy of aesthetics - whether a canvas with one mere haphazard scratch be art or not - even exhibiting items of primitive carving and of classical painting. He dreamed of the lecture he would have made. He mused on his life and his family...

His dreams were suddenly dispersed, for his sullen eyes had noticed something peculiar about the teacher. There was a broad streak of blood across his brow, a deep, dripping scratch. Still unaware of the art Master’s wide-eyed curiosity, the teacher proceeded with the incomprehensible lesson that entranced the silent girls and boys.

No sooner had the art Master set his eyes on the fleshy gutter in the teacher’s brow, than into the classroom crept an old man, also sporting a mortar-board and bent like a grotesque sculpture. He shambled up to the first teacher and whispered in his ear. After a few seconds, when the words had been absorbed in his slow mind, the first teacher uttered the following unmistakable words:

“The class is dismissed.”

He grabbed a large clapperless bell from his desk and shook its silence violently. The children immediately erupted into cacophony as their shouts followed their forms through the door, leaving the startled art Master sitting at the back. At times of stress, he would often pray to Art, as poets of old did call upon their Muse … and he did this now, crushed his mind beneath Beauty and Art, those helpmates on many a previous occasion. One such, he recalled, was the period when his family was starving through lack of money. In desperation, he had stretched his supplicating hands to Art, as if it were a god, and, to support this plea, he had bent his body all night before a neighbour’s blazing log fire. The following morning, with no obvious solution to his problems forthcoming, he had made a terrible scratch across a virgin canvas poised on the easel. Need more be said than that the canvas was sold for an extraordinary amount of money to a foreign gallery.

Coming back to his present surroundings, he saw the teacher replacing the bell on the desk, meticulously ensuring that the imaginary clapper did not repeat its knell. The other, the wizened old man, slowly clearing the books from the untidy desks, gazed curiously above his half-spectacles at the seated figure.

“Who are you?” he monotoned.

“I am an artist, known in my home town as the art Master. I apologise if you feel that I have intruded, but I was captivated by this classroom as I passed.”

“As you passed?” the other intoned.

“Yes ... yes, I was roaming the streets, seeking work ... some artistic work. Perhaps I may be allowed to stay and paint this classroom?”

“Can’t you see, thicko, that we have a problem.” The old man motioned towards the first teacher, flopped in his chair and dabbing his wound. “We have no time to pander to strange intellectuals. So, yobbo, git!” The voice was cracked and twisted - like the neck.


To read the rest of this novel, please transfer: HERE:


comments (1)

1. Paul Dracon left...
Monday, 19 June 2006 9:33 pm
Thank you for posting this, Des. It's going to be a treat to see how your style has evolved over a thirty-three year period.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Big Brother 11 (2010) - Part Four

Continued from here: http://weirdmonger.blogspot.com/2010/08/big-brother-11-2011-part-three.html

Marion wrote:
One of those moments which make BB the greatest reality TV show on earth. JJ crumbled.

Although I agree with that, I'd interpret last night's momentous events in more of a theatrical, inevitable nemesis of all the HMs (some returned to face this Fate), of BB in general over the years, of our society in the last ten years, as crystallised in John James, John James as the redemptive anti-Messiah whom Dave may sub-consciously see as a Charismatic, evangelical archetype of Biblical darkness. (Lucifer is now generally perceived in modern times as the 'hero' of 'Paradise Lost' by Milton.) Apocalyptic John, Apostle James. Fisher of folk. Null Immortalis.

Corin is just a player in this Morality tale, just one of the Greek Chorus, albeit the most effectively vocal.

Meanwhile, Josie could win BB11, based on her performance last night, not Corin. Josie was the Judas Iscariot.
Josie was crueller by wielding the dagger from under the the love-blanket. Josie is the Queen of Hell.
Corin is merely taking small paces with exquisite skill, but small paces nevertheless. She's not in the same league as Josie.

Four evictions tonight, I hear.

I suspect John James, Steve, JJ and Dave will actually go.

But I hope that Corin replaces John James in going so as to punish her for her camera-gazing.
Steve goes, as expected. Quite a dignified exit.

I wonder what he said to Mario after he heard Mario calling him 'pervy'!

I think Nathan was given a speech to read on the telephone.

Josie was very articulate about John James' behaviour. I really think she now deserves to win.

Yes, I'm fickle. Corin has begun to grate with me again. She just doesn't ring true.

Well, none of them really ring true but she rings postively false.

John James will now go, and JJ and David?

But if others agree with my view of Corin, perhaps she will go tonight.

And oh yes - Bob Righter - as a real body - absolutely brilliant. Stylishly creepy. A perfect symbol for BB11.
I agree that the programme is going to be boring. I feel none of them deserve to be there, and I would have said that whoever had got through. A pity BB is ending as such a damp squib.

Sam and Corin and John James should perhaps have been there for talking points and potential entertainment. But people vote for various reasons, some for those with less fakery about them, some for those who have more eye-candy, some as a result of flashmob voting organised by supp0rters and other reasons of an unpredicatble nature (what paper they read, their IQ, their politics etc).

Josie does have something of the Doris Day about her, and the Carroll Baker. She is sometimes articulate and funny. With the competition she's got, I can't see who else may win. Except possibly Mario. Even Dave? He's improved with time even with the Glory-Hole of his religion.
John James in DR: I've acted like an opinionated prick.

BB: How do you think you will be remembered, John James?

John James: Well, I can't think of any way I'll be remembered other than as an opinionated prick because - err - because I am an opinionated prick. (stares mindlessly into the distance)
A classic - Josie evicting two biscuits, a custard cream and a rich tea. A born comedienne. :)

Not sure about Mario starkers, though, or that rather childish, if gently humorous, forgeone conclusion of a task involving Andrew as a yes man. But I wonder - does he really fancy Mario? There's more truth in subterfuge than meets the eye.

This is the calm before the storm, ie. the Housemates of Horror are due to arrive at the House next Tuesday...
Sorry for the intermission but this new book of mine does mention the 'Big Brother' TV reality Show:
Weirdtongue (by DF Lewis)
Just received my contributor copies from InkerMen Press.


They've really done me proud.


yes, sad day - to end like that.

Still - Josie's 'glow' is accentuated when compared to her sliding into spittly thumb-suction and then tenting her knickers in imitation of JJ's boner. A glow aglow is more greatly aglow when within darkness.

She does have a 'glow'. Something one possesses naturally and cannot really acquire by deliberation or fabricate by acting. In that respect, she's streets ahead of Corin. Glow a good word. Thanks, Dave. Dave for second?

That highlights show is symptomatic of what has been wrong with the whole BB 11 series - in the old days the HMs were marooned with each other; throughout this series they have been beset by others who are not HMs. That & the retrocausal special effects.

Tonight is the BB Final I've least looked forward to.
Josie won with nearly 80% of the votes....
Dave, in the end, a worthy second.

Now she's back in with- wow! -

my mate makosi
ulrika svenbang
nasti nick
nasti nikki
john snot mccrick
nadia natterjack
brian darling
chantelle gobsmack & Preston North End
coolio foolio
An admission. I never watched BB 1 - I only started with BB 2.

Nasty Nick is a mystery to me, therefore.

I agree that Chantelle has not changed objective shape bodily or facially but still gives the impression she is now a bruised windfall. And Preston has grown an aura of bounder or cad or brush salesman of the old school, while before he was a pop star whippersnapper.
...and, Marion, where is Miche the Moucher from the year we started discussing BB on TTA (2004)?

And here are three of my separate comments on Makosi in 2005:

And Makosi is a visual and mental delight, clever and incisive.

Makosi is a star! And she has created some of the bext drama on TV since 'The Wednesday Play' !

My first real laugh in this series - seeing Makosi lead the conga with Science at the back.

Unaccountably, I woke up this morning thinking of mutton sausages.

LOL! at Marion's concept of John McC as a cupid in a diaper.

This group of people is the most dysfunctional distillation from earlier already dysfunctional distillations. A tontine of terror.

Ulrika "world-wearily witty" - what a wonderful description.

Makosi vs Nadia as the battle of the Divas? I'll take on Makosi, if Marion takes on Nadia, because I have a death-wish appropriate for the dying days of BB.

Nikki and Nick - John and Coolio - as catalysts of as yet unknown tree-rings or DR about-faces.

Prestelle as just another misbegotten publicity germ like that of mutterden JosiJJ.
Tearful Chantelle and Josie.
Might not see tomorrow's show....

Does anyone know what were the 'circumstances' of the break-up of the Chantelle / Preston marriage? They still seem to care for each other.

Josie is 'normal' she claims. She's not a celebrity. She is a celebrity now, my own Doris Day.... :(
Spot on, with everything there, Marion, including the mutton chops. What a sight! McC is even less scenic than me!

But what happened to Chantelle and Preston in those dark days of a foreshortened marriage four years ago? Was it the Curse of Celebrity? A running theme in this Ultimate BB. The final curtain. The final curse. The final curtailment.

Meanwhile, which grizzled curmudgeon to go?
How ludicrous can you get!
Fabrication upon fabrication - notes left in places for someone else (not a genuine HM) to find? What's all that about?

Josie seemed genuine - not stage-acting a departure.

Chantelle's matronly look - I've just discovered she's had breast implants. What a silly girl!

The whole lot are silly.

Has BB come to this?

All of them to go!
All is forgiven. Mr Snuggles is the most horrific clown I've ever seen - beyond anything even in King's IT.
Poor Nikki!

She's on toast.
Baked beans and toast?
Victor & Michelle?
One should be on top of the other, and the other should not.

PS: If anyone is interested in the Horror genre on this discussion forum, they should take a look at the first entrance of Mr Snuggles. Beats any Horror film hands down.
It only needs Bob Righter strutting backwards to be seen at the edge of sight...
This below is what I wrote in 2004:

I was very upset at the eviction of Victor on Friday. He was a greatly misunderstood character - and the way he sometimes 'performed' (and created whirlpools of mannerist theatre around him) I felt the whole thing was a wonderful Tennessee Williams play. Miche the Moucher is a likely bunny-boiler. Hope she doesn't read this thread. She knows where the bodies are buried.
Actually, BB is symptomatic of a lot of what is wrong with life today. Swearing, loose morals, blatant exploitation etc. However, paradoxically in a way I can't really explain, it also seems constructive, semi-dramatic, inspiringly nightmarish, thought-provoking in its development of one's own insights into the psychology of the modern angst. The question is what one does with those insights. Turn it by alchemy into art (writing)? Or allow it to help you understand and help yourself and others in this human jungle?
Yes, Dan was and has always been very impressive.
Shell the 'posh eye-candy' gets on my nerves.
Nadia is improving all the time.
Stu and Jason are also-rans in my book. Never liked Jason ever since he started in the house (dressed only in a (what do they call it?) ... thong).
Stu was subsumed by Miche the Moucher and now remains a Charwoman's Shadow (a la Lord Dunsany)

CONTINUED HERE: http://weirdmonger.blogspot.com/2010/09/big-brother-11-2010-part-5.html

WEIRDTONGUE - If it's nothing else, it's a fiction unlike any other.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Left Foot (2)

Left Foot (2)

posted Thursday, 16 March 2006

When I came downstairs in the middle of the night or – as it turned out – very early in the morning, I discovered Susan in the living-room, squatting on the couch in her nightie, intently watching News 24 on the TV. I had not previously noticed her going down the stairs from her room at such an ungodly hour – but, thinking back, it probably was that movement in itself having caused me to wake and feel the need for a leak.
It felt as if I were entering a Science Fiction film scenario because the wide screen of our TV was showing flashing lights over London which the commentators could not explain. There was a hushed feel to the broadcast. Although live, it was taking its time to piece through the awakening awe. A documentary in real time. And I gazed out of our window to see the same slow lights and glints of metal in the sky above our house, coming and going through a shimmeringly numinous blanket of what I assumed to be cloud. A milky grey, filled with a pulsing glow, that contrasted with the blackness of the sky behind it.

Susan did not speak nor even slightly acknowledge my arrival in the room, having presumably been infected by the hushed whispers of the TV commentators as they exchanged observations with the equally hushed anchor man in the studio. Obviously most of their reporters were still asleep or were already on their way to new reporting positions, rudely awoken by their mobiles. One disembodied female voice was even now discussing the huge slanting shaft of cathedral light (words that I’m sure she actually used to describe it) and the voice’s face appeared on the screen as if to coin the description as hers. One could see the vast beacon or spotlight stretching from sky to earth behind her. She did not look scared. She did not look anything but business-like. I admired her. She fingered her ear as if the sound-plug had worked loose in the pent-up excitement of the occasion. It was whistling in her ear, I guessed.

It’s trite to say this now, but it all seemed like a dream. Susan and me in the living-room staring at the TV screen which soon turned to its own form of lambent glow without the faces or voices to map the usual geography of news. Just the gradually emerging further images of the night sky’s light show that was duplicated through our window.

It was then I noticed the obvious. One sensed that it was as obvious as the original need for a leak but had taken its time to make itself known. My left foot was missing. I was amazed how I took this information as coolly as I did. There was a stump but only a vague pink seepage was present … and I must have used this leg – without any sense of pain – to walk down the stairs. Using it like a fixed walking-stick or crutch. A thick knee-knotted branch from a Canterbury Oak. I now saw Susan was hugging a foot as if she was the legendary log lady. But her dislocated appendage was as tall as the knee. Or the knee had become the foot itself. It must have been her own left leg as I could see only the single right one coming from the bottom of her nightie. At the point where the bent left knee should have been a part of the ridge of her lap was evidence of pink seepage from the thigh stump. Whatever had caused these injuries had been gentle enough to prevent major blood loss. But if Susan had her leg to nurse like a log (with St Elmo’s Fire playing along its bony rigging), where was my left foot? Back to the studio…

Thank you. Reports are coming in of a dream sickness affecting the whole population. A whining whistle that makes each ear as big as a balloon. Bloated with a fine scrimshaw of veins like low-key rivers flowing with hushed currents towards a sea of white noise which, in turn, shafts like heavenly light from the dream to the very edge of reality which the dream fails to contain. Or fails so far.

Susan smiled. She had caught me in her dream. Or she in mine. If we’d been sharing the same bed, this may never have happened. This would punish us for spending the night in separate rooms. All loving couples should make up before the night begins. One should not go to sleep with the sound of cruel, squabbling words still in your ears. Arguments should not be carried on beyond sleep. However, we had made up to some extent. A desultory forgiving. Symbolised by the hushed whispers. The mere seepage of faded blood. The cowed glances from the dream reporters with not much to say despite the world-shattering events going on around them. The lambent glows. Even the limp excuses for not making things up indicating that we were about to make up. The earwhistles which were inferred as so high-pitched that silence was their only sign of existence.

Yet my missing foot nagged me. But there it was on the sideboard next to the real world’s bowl of fruit, each toenail freshly lipsticked. It was slowly turning to soft wax threaded with a tracery of thin earth-wires which Susan limped over to light. Go gently into that good light.

We kissed. Without tongues. And smiled wistfully at the renewal of our love. Turning a deaf ear to the slow leakage into reality of increasingly numinous dream. I prayed that the reports – when made up – would not be as confusing as the real things they were reporting. Susan would be going to work soon when the light was fully up. Her next shift on News 24.

(written today - 16 March 2006)

In hindsight, one interpretation of the above is that the dream sickness is its own cause: i.e. a dream about a dream sickness that creates the dream itself. OR the aliens in the fable above caused themselves to be created by the dream sickness as creating their own dream for us to dream about themselves caused by the same dream sickness (as a weapon of war against us).
This may explain 'The Tenacity Of Feathers' as a whole whereby reading (and understanding) it can create the solution to the world problems that the trilogy depicts.

For the word 'dream' it is possible to use the word 'fiction' in the above consideration?
20 March 2006.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010



posted Monday, 27 February 2006

The special tree seemed always smothered in blooms and these blooms had formed like clusters of shelled prawns. It stood at the bottom of the orchard garden amongst its pippin cousins, preening itself somewhat.
Who had planted it there? Perhaps a mischievous servant from the big house at the other end of the garden, having found the strange seed at the bottom of the festive nuts. Or, more likely, the relentless wind had brought it there from exotic realms. Whatever the reason, it caused something magical about the place. Moving about the place. Never still.

As a child, I was fond of playing in the orchard garden. My father had strung a strong swing from two of the more dependable looking pippin branches - and I spent many a happy hour in a pendulum motion, legging it up into the ever blue sky by my own volition. I never questioned the movement of the earth itself. I never needed playmates. And they never really needed me.

My father was, on the face of it, a strait-laced business man who did his pin-striped duty by his family, by going to some godforsaken hole of an office complex for most of his waking hours. He dressed pretty smart for going there and put on his best uncharacteristic behaviour ... whilst, at home, he spent all his spare time writing little stories about nasty things. He broke wind and treated my mother as if she had been born a drudge. Soon, he became an exclusion zone. The only real decent thing he did for me, other than “bread-winning”, as he so proudly put it, was indeed the swing. I don’t count his insistence on reading his damn silly stories aloud to me. I never understood them anyway.

My father once announced that he’d got me some playmates. He knew I’d been hankering after them (which I hadn’t). I wouldn’t be able to sense them, but they’d be there all the time, he said, making sure I was safe, pushing me on the swing in the cantilever sunbeams of filmy afternoons, playing hidey-seek, chattering plentifully of this and that (albeit formulaic sayings) ... but how he envisaged them doing these things whilst being invisible wraiths, I’m still unclear, even now in the museum of middle age.

Over a period of four seasons, the strange tree grew ... whilst I at the same time transformed from child to man. The swing could no longer bear my weight. My mother, poor dear, passed away sometime about then. My father was cut up ... literally. It seemed he believed his own stories. He claimed the corpse of my mother had ripped runnels down his face with her still-growing fingernails. Blood, instead of tears, as he put it aphoristically. I sobbed in despair, as the blood looked like ink from an old black and white movie..

With the arrival of the pink blossom, though, I could begin to believe in the existence of the playmates. Typical of Father, though. They were the sort of kids you’d hate at school, a whole bunch of them in one place. Wicked for wicked’s sake, making nice children weep ... and I was the only nice one in the whole orchard garden.

Soon, I grew out of them. With my puberty, they disappeared. As if they were then scared of what I had got wrapped up. The smell of it in the air, no doubt.

Not long afterwards, the tree, the special tree, wilted. But it first formed nuts where the bloodworm blossom had been and dropped them to the piny ground. They were like tree bark skulls, oozing a white slime from the fast appearing haircracks.

The tree’s back arched. Beckoning Adolf Hitler to stab his spurs in the spotlit flanks. All to the tangled backdrop of unspooling memories and misrote sayings.

I screeched and stamped my foot in petulance, since I gathered I was frozen in one of Daddy’s stories. My urchin nails not long enough to cut the ice.

But, no, surely not - the red-striped, chimney-hatted drooler at the attic window, leering at me was too real and frightening to be smuggled into one of his ill-packed stories.

(published 'Twisted' 1991)

comments (1)

1. Paul Dracon left...
Monday, 27 February 2006 3:13 pm
***I sobbed in despair, as the blood looked like ink from an old black and white movie..***

I sobbed in despair, knowing I can't write this well!

Des Lewis and the Polo Mints

Des Lewis and the Polo Mints

posted Friday, 10 July 2009

This is a copy of a poem written by Coleen and Paul Bradshaw who have kindly given permission to show it here. I am told it was read out aloud at the Bradford Terror Scribes meeting about a week ago, and a copy of the poem was won in a raffle.


Des Lewis bought some polo mints,
They’re the mints that everyone knows.
But when he opened the packet
The mints didn’t have any holes!
‘Where are all the holes?’ he cried,
‘This really is the pits.’
For although he liked the outside parts
The holes were his favourite bits.
He looked over here and he looked over there,
He looked everywhere around.
He even looked where he couldn’t see,
But the holes were not to be found.
‘I’m not having this,’ he said to himself,
And back into the shop went he.
‘These mints have got no holes!’ he yelled,
‘And that’s no good to me.’
The shopkeeper smiled an enormous smile,
For Des is very well known.
‘Didn’t you know?’ he said at last,
‘You can now buy the holes on their own!’
So he handed Des a packet of holes
Which he slipped into his jacket
And when he got outside the shop
He gingerly opened the packet.
He slowly took out one of the holes,
Which felt all lovely and new
Then he popped it into his mouth
And started to suck and chew.
He thought they tasted exceedingly good
And in no time the holes were all gone.
‘Polo mints are really good,’ he said,
‘But I’m going to buy the holes from now on!

Intentional Fallacy

Intentional Fallacy

posted Tuesday, 30 June 2009

I had another on-line discussion about the Intentional Fallacy yesterday. I have a book called 'The Verbal Icon' by WK Wimsatt that I first owned in the late sixties, a book sitting, as it happened, on my bookshelf in immediate proximity to 'From Blue to Black', a novel by Joel Lane - which was coincidentally appropriate as the discussion in question was with Joel himself!

I was pleased to find this quote in the Wimsatt book to help demonstrate the point I was trying to make:

"In his essay on 'Hamlet and His problems' TS Eliot finds Hamlet's state of emotion unsatisfactory because it lacks an 'objective correlative', a 'chain of events' which are the 'formula of that particular emotion'. The emotion is 'in excess of the facts as they appear'. It is 'inexpressible'. Yet Hamlet's emotion must be expressible, we submit, and actually expressed too (by something) in the play; otherwise Eliot would not know it is there - in excess of the facts. That Hamlet himself or Shakespeare may be baffled by the emotion is beside the point."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Beyond Death

Beyond Death

posted Saturday, 6 August 2005

Vampires don't exist, unless we start to believe in them. Until similes become full-blooded metaphors, we shall always live in the negative darkness of a world in proper pain. The world this side of death, where we happen to reside, for our sins, is a living nightmare, but one that is not positively horrific; it's simply a reality without imagination, an everlasting wake without dream, a narrow house of flesh. Recession hereabouts means the receding of spirit, as well as of material things: a place where nightmares are their opposite.
We need to jump-lead the rich seams of gothic synergy in the spirit and to dark-light the way. Already, there are pinpricks of positive nightmare, in our neck of the woods - and we cannot help thinking that less directness and more obliquity will allow us to see better round corners. Eye to eye doesn't show us the soul, but simply its well-head. And in Hell there wait those who were wrongly thrown out of Heaven that sorry day universes ago. Indeed, the road to Heaven is paved with bad intentions.

And what of the vampires? They no longer believe in us.

Horror should be Nightmare disguised as Dream, Blood as Ruby Sea, Hell as Shadow. Not the other ways about. We are the best such disguise. That tells more about us than a thousand close textual surveys of our works. Search out, I say.

I have recently been reading the best sensitive horror going. Undercurrents of spectres and sensuality. Read such writers if you can. But if you want horror really oblique to the point of non-existence (but nonetheless powerful), try claustrophobic novels of timeless family life written earlier this century.

So, with due decorum, I shall hasten on to a quieter London Adventure of Three Impostors. A few weeks ago, we wandered through the ancient London by-ways and visited a Museum: a place beguiled with duplicitous perspectives, bulging with bizarre statues and skeletons, topped with a lop-sided roofscape of skylights, sown with darksome knick-knacks, peopled with peering paintings &c. &c. - and we felt as if we had walked straight into a story, a story limned by dream out of hybrid hells.

We also sat chatting around fountains in peaceful sunlit squares, viewed the dome of St Paul's Cathedral from new shimmering non-Euclidean angles, saw the outside of an inscrutable apartment where a writer we admired did hone his masterpieces of myth and monsters ... and, oh yes, as one of us wrote in a subsequent letter: "the first pub we visited where our conversation was so scintillating I could see it as an episode in a book."

We mustn't forget: even if blood were dream, vampires would sniff at it.

Well, we are not dogs too old to learn new tricks. Exploring, as we do, from time to time, some of the older books in our personal collections, we recently stumbled across some really special ones. Yet, the trove is deeper, the treasure richer, as one delves into even lesser known works which touch on preoccupations of ours regarding ambivalent existences and dimmer-switch identities. The style, too, is a deliciously woven tapestry of clause and sub-clause ... and the aftertaste is sweeter than honey yet black-peppered with other concerns that will stay with us within daylight as well as night - and during those dimnesses between.

Another wonderful reading experience, during moments of the sweetest synchronous serendipity, echoed another browsing of books. By chance, one of them expands upon the tantalising themes of crossed personality and involuted individuality, together with a disturbing treatment of bodily mutilation, plus the vibrant historical immediacy of eastern European venues.

It warmed the heart. (We hadn't eaten hearts for a long time - and even if the hearts present were insufficiently warmed through by the fellow feeling (or by the heated discussion) they were probably more palatable than conger eel with or without onions!)

Vampires would eat their hearts out to have innards.

Well, we have been guilty of brandishing bare words without elaboration, assuming that everybody must know, love and cherish books; but perhaps we are wrong: we are often wrong.

We all live out ghost stories - of sorts. Many are surrealistic, without resort to over-intellectualism. They infect dreams. There are often undercurrents of eroticism and perversion. They are ungraspable, without being opaque. Macabre. Poetic. Yet full of character and dialogue. Frequently a happy mixture of traditional and experimental; a rare dream which is successful in being both accessible and inaccessible at the same time! Frightening. REALLY SCARY. All this is our opinion. And we are often wrong.

About to draw in my feelers. Armed with a stake, I penetrated a vampire the other day on my kitchen floor, without first suspending my belief. Much messier than fiction. Even messier than dreams.

I am half Welsh, my father having spent his boyhood in his birthplace of Llanelli, South Wales, before being dragooned to fight in the War of the Worlds in 1941 - eventually ending up stationed on the English east coast in Walton-on-Naze, Essex, where he met my mother...

On a visit to Llanelli recently, whilst taking my father on a nostalgic trip back to his roots, I could easily imagine the surly inhabitants possessing brothership with Deep Ones - and the deserted part of Llanelli docks being their Lurkhole. And I think immanent synchronicity and dark serendipity affect lovers of the dark side more than most. Just as an example, whilst on that short visit to Llanelli, Dad scoured the local telephone directory in what he thought was a hopeless task to track down one of his old friends with whom he had gone diving at Llanelli docks as a boy: someone he had not seen or heard of for over forty years - and, lo, that very friend was living directly opposite the guest house where Dad and I were staying, miles from the friend's previously known abode! This chap turned out to be Chief Mason in Llanelli with more resemblance to one of the Deep Ones than it was polite to notice.

The strange forces of serendipity and coincidence ever seem to be at work, especially when amid stories in the horror mode. Either that or there is some wondrous mantra (or muse?) steering our minds towards those priceless moments of creativity and gestalt. Astrology, one such mandala, is not concerned with cause and effect; it is an empirical study of human behaviour and of life-force trends as paralleled by the positions of all the planets in the Zodiac at the precise moment and place of birth. The concept of Synchronicity (i.e As Above, So Below) could not be more logical. If our Universe and all its ingredients failed to move in cogwheel patterns with perfectly overlapping ripples, that would surely be more ridiculous than if they did move in that way. So why is belief in Astrology deemed ridiculous when a disbelief in it would be more ridiculous? Those people who ridicule Astrology - who decry this interpretative study of synchronicity empirically derived from (a) scientifically calculated patterns of the universe and (b) simultaneous human actions - will never know whether it works, because the Astrological influences in their own horoscopes may well demonstrate that very ignorance which they were born to suffer: a vicious circle of disbelief.

The movement of all bodies, Heavenly or otherwise, is surely a refined, interactive process, having taken merely a single eternity of preparation to produce our infinitely complex mortal life. Only those who believe will in turn be believed, because Faith is a two-way conduit. As Above, so Below.

If we are vampires, the stars are our stake-outs. As Below, so Above.

Indeed, there once existed a wonderful writer for Horror/Ghost story lovers as well as for people who love huge panoramic, picaresque, idiosyncratic tours-de-force of social history ... his books being full of Victorian fogs, street-sweepers, costermongers, plug-ugly villains, fresh-faced maidens, well-meaning heroes, weird characters with even weirder names, laughter, pain, farce, surrealism (yes, a genuine surrealism that predates the twentieth century by a good number of years!) and, above all, scenes that can horrify and gently haunt you. The style of language takes us along winding paths within an overgrown maze of meaning and resonance, whereby digressions become main narrative threads - and vice versa - until we reach an understanding of something important to life, something which is not at all obvious unless we apply a retrospective ear to a whole novel's wondrous dream-like or nightmarish or side-splitting backwash of sound.

In many ways, these novels remind me of probably the most mysterious phenomenon within the universe known to man, yes, my own greatest passion: music.

With due respect - and I may be wrong here since I'm often wrong - I imagine many of you enjoy popular rock music in its various forms ... which is fine, carrying, as such music often does, mind-stretching horror images, eeriness, nightmare, alternative religiosity (even quiet contemplation): especially when you're in the right frame of mind to bring ordinary music-listening towards your spiritual antennae.

Well, so far so good. But if you want more, if you want something different, why don't you try modern orchestral 'serious' music? I know a number of people denigrate what they call avant garde music - saying it's a load of pretentious noise. Well, yes, some of it is. You're right. But there are some composers whose music I cannot live without. The secret, for me, is to listen to such pieces time and time again until they settle down, where the unpredictable sounds and apparently tuneless passages begin to match the rhythms of your self-induced waking dreams.

There was one piece of music that originally stirred me into the outlands of taste, turning me from the more 'normal' ways of my beloved parents who only ever listened to melodic music and watched television. As ever, I will not name names.

Vampires play the flute.

I must admit that an ambition of mine is to blur the distinction between so-called literature as praised by artsy-fartsies and our own beloved horror genre. There is someone who, to my mind, embodies this ideal better than anyone. His running themes are murders, historic London, inhumanity, mysteries, literary tricks ... with such dark undercurrents one can actually sense the incubi of his demons close by, penetrating even the stones of modern London as one wanders, at random, its streets.

The first novel of his I read was one where he entwines past and present, flaying bare the seed-beds of arcane evil that marinate the very stones and statues and walls. A detective story that will haunt and horrify you forever. Another discernible theme is the ambivalence of gender. Like the phenomenon of Spontaneous Combustion, androgynous ambiguity and sexual sleight of hand are, I feel, untapped sources of material for fiction of horror and of psychological terror - although some of us subtly and perhaps unknowingly demonstrated them in some stories.

In many ways, when children didn't spend all their time glued to computer screens and had a good grounding in stylistic English, they would certainly have enjoyed these explorations into occult and mystic realms of fear, since some stories, indeed, feature children as their protagonists. Child-like grown-ups, I guess, are the only possible candidates for wonderment these days, because most of our real children have been 'spoilt'. And those grown-ups among us who read and write in the horror genre I've often thought are child-like, in this positive sense. They have not been jaded by the act of growing-too-old-too-quickly, they do not zombie round with cowed bleary eyes and a spiritless soul. Even madness is better than mindlessness.

I have a great faith that Mankind's creativity (particularly the creativity of literature and music) can be our only soul-mate in this otherwise material universe. Other people are merely passing strangers who you befriend or, even, love, but, through their very mortality, they will depart your territory, inevitably leaving you quite alone one day. And I feel that literature and music, wherein you can drift, or even fly, supplies what you are missing when the world's crazy religions are shown up for what they are: just things that make people cruel to each other.

Mankind can create its own bespoke world - and horror fiction is a very efficient tool for expanding the mind beyond the matter that constricts it. I have always condemned mind drugs that are administered to the body from outside it. I have never taken such drugs (except, I admit, for my occasional weakness for drinking alcohol!) and I never shall. Drugs come from within.

There can be no goodness without its balance of bad. Perhaps Mankind is fundamentally ill-created, perhaps people have evil inbuilt at birth, and, by recognising those facts, by simply writing about the bad-the-ugly-and-the-frightening, this act of honesty alchemically refines the "soul". Perhaps a vampire is only evil because of the human vehicle it drives.

Sometimes I wonder - does horror need to be horrific?

To be truly horrific, the images and conceits that are embedded in a plot do have to stick in the mind - and only a craftsmanship with words is able to carve out the haunting quality that is necessary whether the horror be physical, psychological, fanciful or supernatural.

Some stories are essentially literature in its purest form - wonderfully rumbustious, humorous, word-magical fantasies, liberally peppered with honest-to-goodness horror - involving the fabulous traditions of surrealism, fairy stories and piquant wit. They strike me of the feeling one would have upon entering a treasure trove of a bookshop and discovering for the first time works that had been written in some ancient future, a future impossible to believe ever possessing the antecedence of a present let alone of a past. There is one book that I had dreamed of reading but never thought I'd be so lucky ever to do so in real life.

Even if you have a complete blood change, your mind will never forget...

As I sit here - within my chalet bungalow close to the North Sea where recently, due to a storm, many pleasure beach-huts were smashed to smithereens or even entirely snatched away - I wonder what defines an island. The world is an island, I suppose. I am one, too. The horror art (i.e. the words and pictures we manufacture to depict the dark side of humanity) is perhaps a personal sea against which our mental and physical coast-defences will eventually crumble. But before this happens, we should seek out the sandbags.

The only activity we are are possibly good at is this art of horror. And we want to be famous, remembered after we are dead, rumours of our existence to be blessed with at least the life-span of this island planet. But to be remembered as being sick! No, never! But that's what will happen, if we don't beware. Our families and friends will remember us as people who got carried away by our art, subsumed by our own insular minds. And if we couldn't control ourselves, what sort of people were we?

Unless, of course, we can justify the art of horror itself.

Many ordinary people love horror. Simply that. Everybody is cruel at heart. Why not give them what they want? Lay the horror on as thickly as possible. But people like a lot of things that are not good for them. This argument of personal responsibility is an unending one. If we could resolve it here, we would deserve to be famous. Or is Horror actually good for people? A purge. A catharsis. People have evil built into the fabric of their souls at birth. And what the horror art does is dilute that real horror with its imaginary equivalent. And imaginary horror, surely, is preferable to any other kind. On the other hand, perhaps we are intrinsically evil, inexcusably warping people's imaginations. Our corrupt soul needs an artistic outlet for its own self-satisfaction. But why also submit such art for others to publish? We want to provoke. We have always provoked people since being kids, haven't we? Mainly in minor ways. Ways that we thought would not harm them. But perhaps we are more harmful than we ever expected. We must never admit that, though. Even if it's true.

Sticks and stones may hurt our bones, but names will never hurt us. What harm can there be in simple words or drawings on a page? But we want our art to get under the skin. Be more than just art. Perhaps, if we are truly honest, we want to bite home. Only nasty medicine can cure, they say. But there's something we are missing. An imponderable that we cannot even set down on the page properly, let alone successfully address. Monsters can live in our nightmares and by describing them, hopefully we circumscribe them. By writing, I circumscribe myself. I fetter myself from creating the only horror that will harm you as well as me: me.

Yet, there is much humour in our art. Sick humour, perhaps. But it's meant to make people laugh. Laughter and horror are often bed-fellows. Audiences often burst out into chortling at the most frightening bits of films. Mischief and the poking of fun are part and parcel of our attitude. Seriousness could only lead to unwelcome admissions. Perhaps, we are the appointed providers of horror. Without bad, there couldn't be an equal measure of good. Good is only good when compared with bad. We are thus do-goooders. But this absurdity means we have run out of further thoughts. Leaving us with Nothing. Bliss. Nirvana. We hope that we are forgiven by our loved ones - especially when our final artist's block comes ... or after the abandon-edit button is pushed before anything is saved. Meanwhile, the sea is in an ugly mood again, tonight. Even the fish have fangs and flop ashore, bleating for breath. And horror surrounds me with wave upon wave of self-doubt. But, as some philosopher once said, doubt is strength.

By the way, there is a misprint later. For blood, please read beer.

Each time I try to enter the non-fiction mode, ideas for stories seem to take over and I feel myself slipping away into my usual sort of convoluted dream or cruel conceit. And this set me to thinking. It strikes me that fiction represents a fusion of real life and imagination, one feeding off the other. How otherwise can one appreciate the frisson of fear or the gulp of revulsion without believing it is really happening? Suspension of belief is, I think, an expression often employed. But it is more than this. Yet would I be pretentious enough to maintain that reality is fiction and vice versa? Well, maybe.

It is much more complex than simple suspension of belief (or even disbelief). Horror fiction, at its best, enters our individual territories and becomes part and parcel of a revolving realm with Death at its core: and, in this realm, all the flotsam and jetsam of life (the richest life being generated by the imagination as well as by the day-to-day interaction of our minds and bodies) spin round, some colliding only to ricochet off, others sticking together, some being swallowed whole or bit by bit. Eventually, the various items are sucked into the core where they are minced up or refined into streams of sense (or apparent sense or, even, nonsense) which are then released from that realm into other revolving realms which create new collisions, fusions and spin-offs. This is using Death as a positive tool, as it surely is. Without Death, we'd be nothing.

Furthermore, Horror fiction shares a bed with surrealism and humour as well as with the more usual ingredients of grim acts, monstrous creatures and ghostly visitations. Literature, indeed, uses all kinds of devices, tropes, figures of speech, call them what you will, to make the welding of reality and unreality as seamless as possible. But why make something seamless, when there are no seams in the first place? It only takes a few lateral thoughts or, as I have proposed here, spinning ones. Horror fiction can accomplish this feat with some degree of logic, because the realms actually created by it are indeed real - and perhaps that is because there is nothing more horrific than being real in reality as we know it. I am only in it for the blood.

I don’t know whether any of you have ever been to Docklands, a reclaimed area in the East End of London, where my Grandfather travailed on the cranes before the Second World War - but, when I arrived on the amazing Docklands Light Railway, amid the tall behemoth constructions that still pay obeisance to Thatcherite Britain, I really felt myself to be in an Alternate World. From my hotel bedroom, I could see the same railway-on-stilts arriving through the corridors of a Wellsian Metropolis on the other side of an in-city waterscape ... and, yes, despite myself, I was awestruck... exhilirated, even.

Life is a dark dockless ocean of meaning and sound, something that will haunt our dreams forever (even beyond death) as well as make us believe that our beloved horror genre will eventually encompass all art and literature. But, surely, there is more to life than mere monsters and vampires.

(first published 'Roadworks' 1999)

comments (1)

1. Paul Dracon left...
Saturday, 6 August 2005 3:02 pm
"Even madness is better than mindlessness."

Yes-- MUCH better.