“Fantasy is sometimes dismissed as childish, or escapist, but I take what I am doing very, very seriously. For me fantasy isn’t about escaping from reality, it’s about re-encountering the challenges of the real world, but externalized and transformed. It’s an emotionally raw genre — it forces you…
I deal with suicidal, unipolar depression and I take medication daily to treat it. Over the past seven years, I’ve had two episodes that were severe and during which I thought almost exclusively of suicide. I did not eat much and lost weight during…
“I love mysteries. To fall into a mystery and its danger … everything becomes so intense in those moments. When most mysteries are solved, I feel tremendously let down. So I want things to feel solved up to a point, but there’s got to be a certain percentage left over to keep the dream going. It’s like at the end of Chinatown: The guy says, ‘Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.’ You understand it, but you don’t understand it, and it keeps that mystery alive. That’s the most beautiful thing.”—David Lynch
"Cuckoldom Triumphant Or, Matrimonial Incontinence Vindicated" and other eighteenth-century novels of note.
The Toast has compiled a list of 18th century novels and they are equal parts charming and weird. New favorite book title: ‘Reft Rob; Or, The Witch Of Scot-Muir, Commonly Called Madge The Snoover.’ Or maybe just ‘Astonishment!!!’
“If you want a signed copy of Richard Kadrey’s THE GETAWAY GOD on its release date, you can pre-order it from Borderlands Books in SF. Email them at email@example.com or call their toll-free number: 888 893-4008”—
I have a deep belief in the power of story. I know that what we create filters up into wider media. I know story can change the world. I’m also deeply motivated by my experience being dead broke poor, a place I never, ever want to be again. And I’m incredibly motivated by haters who say I can’t. By stats that say the game is rigged against me, by people who say I’m not good enough….
But I have to do the work. You have to do the work. You have to hack out the time. You have to believe. You have to get out of bed even when it all looks impossible, even when you’d rather dream than do.
Because at a certain point, the dreaming has to be over. Somebody has to do the work.
Forever and ever, it’s you who must do the work. In whatever way you can. For as long as you can. Because this is a marathon, a game of attrition, and if you’re going to play, you must play.
Hacking the Writing Life: On Being a Writer With Three Jobs
How do you get over being over-critical of your own writing? I try, but sometimes I can't even put out a paragraph it's so bad.
I remind myself that no one day of writing matters all that much. A story is built somewhat like a stalactite - one little drip of mud and grit at a time.
I remind myself that the first few drafts are just for me. That gives me permission to let it be an ungodly mess, full of shit sentences and crap ideas, whipped into a creamy froth with the occasional bits that do work. Later I’ll winnow out the stuff that was no good. What remains will be (I hope) fun, economical, and lively.
It helps (me) to write longhand. I know no one is ever going to see my longhand draft but me. That’s a free pass to suck.
Also, though, I try and work small. If I think a scene blows dead rats, I’ll stop thinking about the big picture, and just think about the next sentence. If I can get down one sentence that really excites me, sometimes it will throw a spark powerful enough to bring a dying moment back to life.
“You make something from things that have happened and from things that exist and from all things that you know and all those you cannot know, and you make something through your invention that is truer than anything true and alive, and if you make it well enough, you give it immortality.”—Ernest Hemingway
Few fantasy series have as strong a sense of place as Richard Kadrey’s L.A.-set Sandman Slim books. And here’s your exclusive first look at a video where Kadrey takes you to the real-life locations where his books take place, filmed by Brady Hall. Plus read a chapter of the next Sandman Slim Book, The Getaway God!
Chatting with James Sallis About the Republication of Death Will Have Your Eyes
The Reading Room:How does it feel to have the novel back out in the public eye (with a striking new cover!) for a generation of readers who perhaps missed it the first time?
James Sallis:Well, considering that almost everyone seems to have missed it the first time, it feels great. Tremendous. The book’s had a tiny group of ardent fans over the years, was even optioned for some time, but it more or less remained among the good dishes you don’t bring out often.
RR:Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a particular routine – things that you prefer to have in place – or is it more of a free for all? And has it changed over the years?
Sallis:The thing I have “to have in place” is butt in chair, and that’s definitely become more difficult over the years. No more three- and four-hour writing jags; I can’t sit for more than forty minutes or so before I’m up, wandering about the house, reaching for a mandolin or guitar. There’s a lot more wandering about in the story itself, too: rummaging, poking it with sticks, seeing what comes to the top.
RR:What needs to happen on page one of a novel to make for a successful book that urges you to read on?
Sallis:The writer must lean close to me and whisper “I have something important to tell you.”
“Depression presents itself as a realism regarding the rottenness of the world in general and the rottenness of your life in particular. But the realism is merely a mask for depression’s actual essence, which is an overwhelming estrangement from humanity. The more persuaded you are of your unique access to the rottenness, the more afraid you become of engaging with the world; and the less you engage with the world, the more perfidiously happy-faced the rest of humanity seems for continuing to engage with it.”—Jonathan Franzen
In the air were storms. The sky would break and he would say “It is broken like me.” and I would collect the thunder water breaking him again because I could and it was needed. When Sister opened the good book she read the passage from Ezekial 13:8 and it was understood that all would be…