I read speculative fiction because I admire the writers who do it well. China Melville, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Elizabeth Hand, Peter Straub, and Laird Barron, who has blossomed into what I am dying to do… hilarious parody horror. Maybe parody is the wrong word, but his latest novella “Xs for Eyes” is damned near perfect. I want to beat and kiss him for writing the bizarre book. Trust me, it is amazing.
Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy blew my mind. If you haven’t read it yet, go buy it now. The first two books build to a jaw-dropping third book. It is brilliant and twisted.
I love reading authors who teach me the writing craft. These are the authors who inspire me to keep banging my head against the keyboard. Will I ever reach their brilliance? A defeated part of me claims no, never ever. I don’t have the special creative gene. But that one little stubborn spark keeps kicking my ass to write and rewrite and keep going because perhaps someday I’ll creep over the line and have a following.
I’ll settle for a club or a gang.
As my wise beyond her years niece Denise (who is a doctor) once said to me, “is anyone making you write?”
“Hell no, I write because I need to write.”
“Are you published?”
“Then keep writing and stop worrying.”
Denise is a damned brilliant woman. And I do look up to her. She’s twenty year younger and much wiser and braver than I. She spent two years teaching in a remote South African village.
So yeah, I need to keep writing and stop worrying. I’ll read those who inspire me, and hope my words reach a few readers.