Hunter

December 3, 2019

When you were mine though not
mine at all permanently, just a body borrowed
without permission, a body interrupted,
interruptive —
       the sky opened like a secret in a mouth
mouth with a word in it
word with an arrowhead in its flank: Love, small
creature it was
             crying in the night beneath me

Phillip B Williams

the wild places

December 3, 2019

“…the woods, when they give at all, give unstintedly, and hold nothing back from their true worshippers. We must go to them lovingly, humbly, patiently, watchfully, and we shall learn what poignant loveliness lurks in the wild places and silent intervals, lying under starshine and sunset,  what cadences of unearthly music are harped on aged pine boughs or crooned in copses of fir,  what delicate savours exhale from mosses and ferns in sunny corners or on damp brooklands,  what dreams and myths and legends of an older time haunt them. Then the immortal heart of the woods will beat against ours and its subtle life will steal into our veins and make us its own forever, so that no matter where we go or how widely we wander we shall yet be drawn back to the forest to find our most enduring kinship

The Blue Castle
L.M. Montgomery

an ancient power captured

December 3, 2019

After all, I’m the horror writer; it’s why the editors of this publication have asked me to conduct this interview. I’m supposed to judge the veracity of Sarah’s footage and, assuming I accept it as true, trace its connections to Lost in the Dark, explain the ways in which the fiction refracts the facts. It’s a favourite critical activity, isn’t it? Especially when it comes to the fantastic, demonstrating how it’s only the stuff of daily life, after all. The vampire is our repressed eroticism, the werewolf our unreasoning rage. The film Sarah has shown me, though, isn’t the material of daily life. I don’t know what it is, because to tell you the truth, I’m more of a sceptic than a believer these days. Strange as it sounds, it’s one of the reasons I love to write about the supernatural. The stories I tell offer me the opportunity to indulge a sense of the numinous I find all too lacking in the world around me. But this movie…I can’t help inventing a story to explain it, something to do with an ancient power captured, brought to a remote location, and imprisoned there. Those dead men at the entrance, maybe they were there as a sacrifice, a way to bind whatever was in that nameless woman to the mine. The stuff inside the tunnels, the caves beyond, was that evidence of someone or someone’s tending to the woman, worshipping her? And Isabelle Router, her experience underground — was the movie she cowrote an act of devotion to something that found her in the dark? I half remember the line from Yeats about entertaining a drowsy emperor.

None of it makes any sense; it’s all constructed with playing cards, waiting for a sneeze to collapse it.

John Langan
Lost in the Dark

Witches

December 3, 2019

When I think of witches, I seem to see all over England, all over Europe, women living and growing old, as common as blackberries, and as unregarded. I see them, wives and sisters of respectable men, chapel members, and blacksmiths, and small farmers, and Puritans. In places like Bedfordshire, the sort of country one sees from the train. You know. Well, there they were, there they are, child-rearing, house-keeping, hanging washed dishcloths on currant bushes; and for diversion each other’s silly conversation, and listening to men talking together in the way that men talk and women listen. Quite different to the way women talk, and men listen, if they listen at all. And all the time being thrust further down into dullness when the one thing all women hate is to be thought dull. And on Sunday they put on plain stuff gowns and starched white coverings on their heads and necks  — the Puritan ones did — and walked across the fields to chapel, and listened to the sermon. Sin and Grace, and God and the  —” (she stopped herself just in time), “and St. Paul. All men’s things, like politics, or mathematics. Nothing for them except subjection and plaiting their hair. And on the way back they listened to more talk. Talk about the sermon, or war, or cock-fighting; and when they got back, there were the potatoes to be cooked for dinner. It sounds very petty to complain about, but I tell you, that sort of thing settles down on one like a fine dust, and by and by the dust is age, settling down. Settling down! You never die, do you? No doubt that’s far worse, but there is a dreadful kind of dreary immortality about being settled down on by one day after another. And they think how they were young once, and they see new young women, just like what they were, and yet as surprising as if it had never happened before, like trees in spring. But they are like trees towards the end of summer, heavy and dusty,  and nobody finds their leaves surprising, or notices them till they fall off. If they could be passive and unnoticed, it wouldn’t matter. But they must be active and still not noticed. Doing, doing, doing, till mere habit scolds at them like a housewife, and rouses them up — when they might sit in their doorways and think — to be doing still!

Sylvia Townsend Warner
Lolly Willowes