Severance, the birds of leaving call to us
Yet here we stand, endowed with the fear of flight
Overland, the winds of change consume the land
While we remain in the shadow of summers now past.
When all the leaves have fallen and turned to dust
Will we remain entrenched within our ways?
Indifference--the plague that moves throughout this land
Omen signs in the shapes of things to come.
-Dead Can Dance, "Severance"
I've received my proof copy of "All the World a Grave" and am in the process of editing. For both of you who've already bought the book, I apologize for all the typos. I'll send you a corrected copy if you want.
Jae (hi!) is one of those two, and was kind enough to share some thoughts with me about the book. To quote her quoting me, she yells because she cares :) But I have to say, going through the book line by line, I am not displeased with those stories. Oh, they all have their weaks spots, they were all written three or more years ago, and I have grown as a writer since then, become more adept with words (though sometimes you can't tell by this blog).
Each of the stories has a solid core of an idea that I wanted to explore, and whatever faults they may have, they were all victories in their way. I think they are all readable, and enjoyable in a dark way.
They came from a dark place inside me. Jae says she's not a fan of horror (or was it fantasy?); but really these stories use the genre devices found in dark fantasy to explore aspects of what it means to be human; that much I can tell now, at a distance from their writing. That much of them also deals with suffering is because at the time, I myself was suffering spiritually, psychologically, emotionally. If I were writing them today, I might dispense with genre conventions. They would be even darker then; they would take place in the world you and I inhabit.
Jae also says these stories are an S&M freak's wet dream. Heh. Seriously, though, there are certainly elements of sex, and pain, and humiliation. But I like to think that the subject matter is handled in a mature, sensitive way. And to be honest, the acts themselves are less important than the characters' reactions to them, which ranges from indifference to utter rejection. This is not erotica (sorry folks).
It is endlessly fascinating to a writer to hear what others think of their writing. Praise or scorn, it matters very little. The worst thing is indifference. Not that Jae was heaping scorn on the book. Far from it.
I'm still, after all these years, finding my voice. I believe I've outgrown the writer's voice that dwells in such dark places... but I don't know. Do we ever really heal from the wounds life brings us? My ability to shape prose has only improved since I wrote these stories. I wonder if my ability to view the world through anything other than smoky lenses has as well.