I am twenty-four years old when a good friend of mine approaches me with a question similar to the one my mother asked me when I was eleven, all those years ago. But this time she says, “My mother is afraid because of the stories I write. She doesn’t want me to have to go to a dark, sad place in order to write sad, dark stories. What do I tell her?”

Our mothers are always afraid. They want what is best for us, and they know the reality of how horrifying the world can really be. They don’t want us to have to traverse imaginary horrors when the world is already full of real ones.

“Tell her,” I say, staring at the wall above my computer, “that the truth is, we don’t have to go to sad, dark places to write our stories. We write our stories to cope with what we’ve already seen.”

Alyssa Wong
The Darkest, Truest Mirrors

Realism is conservative

October 26, 2019

We live in uncertain times. We have always lived in uncertain times. I think what makes the weird inherently attractive is that it speaks to a part of us that knows, consciously or not, that the rules we play by, the realities we choose to agree to and normalize, have cracks in them. Increasingly, I think that putting realist modes and non-realistic modes at opposite ends of the spectrum does a disservice to both. Realism is conservative in that it tells us what we believe is real is in fact real. But it isn’t. It’s also consensual, questionable, open to interpretation, and often ignorant of other, competing narratives. We are in a moment when the consensus is beginning to shift. Non-realist modes seem to help us get a handle on this faster because they teach us the consensus was never absolute to begin with. People were excluded, people dissented. This breakdown is enjoyable at some level even as it’s also frightening. It means elements of our lives which we lacked the ability or will to question suddenly seem disputable, something we can fight back against. Breakdown gives us an opportunity to see what lies beneath, for better or worse. Increasingly what strikes me as strange about Lovecraft’s fiction is the sense that once the monstrous is encountered, the only options are madness, forgetting or death. And that in its own way is a conservative way of thinking: there are many more options. Resistance, recuperation, remembering, rebirth. This is the energy that comes from the collapse of the consensus — the possibility of change.

Helen Marshall
Interview with David Davis 15th November 2017

dancing rhythms

September 10, 2019

Tonight reality finally repudiated its margins, blurred into dream. We offered a libation to the moor, to the stones, to unknown Gods – to the deep night sky and the drunken poet who listens to the silence around him and the dancing rhythms of his own heart.

Moderation

September 3, 2019

When they tell you, ‘moderation in all things’, I assume they mean reality also?

Many worlds

September 1, 2019

I don’t think the world is the way we like to think it is. I don’t think it’s one solid world, but many, thousands upon thousands of them – as many as there are people – because each person perceives the world in his or her own way; each lives in his or her own world. Sometimes they connect, for a moment, or more rarely, for a lifetime, but mostly we are alone, each living in our own world, suffering our small deaths.

Charles de Lint
Dreams Underfoot

great inner intensity

August 31, 2019

Faculty X is simply that latent power in human beings possess to reach beyond the present. After all, we know perfectly well that the past is as real as the present, and that New York and Singapore and Lhasa and Stepney Green are all as real as the place I happen to be in at the moment. Yet my senses do not agree. They assure me that this place, here and now, is far more real than any other place or any other time. Only in certain moments of great inner intensity do I know this to be a lie. Faculty X is a sense of reality, the reality of other places and other times, and it is the possession of it — fragmentary and uncertain though it is — that distinguishes man from all other animals”

Colin Wilson
The Occult

multiple realities

August 29, 2019

There is infinity in everything. Not understanding this means you either don’t want to or can’t see the multiple realities surrounding you.

Books

August 11, 2019

…I preferred books to the world of reality, and something of that has remained with me — a slight taste for eternity.

Simone de Beauvoir
The Mandarins

Insanity

May 13, 2019

There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow it hides itself in insanity. While this may not seem beneficial, it is. There are times when reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind.

Patrick Rothfuss
The Name of the Wind

Reality

March 24, 2019

Reality is that which when you stop believing in it, it doesn’t go away.

Philip K. Dick
VALIS