Intermission (Battle Cry)

Been a little busy as of late what with running the Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest, so haven’t really been blogging much (you may have noticed).

So, until things are back on track here, go check out what CZP is doing over on their blog with their Women in Horror Month features. While all of these have been fascinating reads – and I’m not above saying “here, go listen to my friends” – one thing you absolutely must not miss on this blog is Carolyn Ives Gilman’s answer to the question “Why do you write horror?”.

And here I have an ulterior motive (who doesn’t?).

Many people ask what writers really do. Why do you bother writing? What’s in it for you? Most of you don’t make a living at this. Why bother? are all questions that you’ll hear if you choose to live your life as a writer (or, really, as any kind of artist).

The response is simple:

A writer’s job is to make you uneasy; to force you to face what you don’t want to see.

It’s a transgressive life. One filled with people who turn their heads away from the darkness, too afraid to look into its face and fight. But you have to fight. Far beyond the too simple “fight or die” battle cry that the sedimentary masses raise to the heavens, there is a headier, more raucous call to be answered.

Sometimes my job is as simple as showing you what is out there, looming in shadows that stretch long and devour the lost – those living on the outskirts – before you ever really even notice they’re gone. I do not give answers. I don’t always have them. But I do know what is out there, and I will paint its face for you, and in measures by turns obscure, brutal, esoteric, and blunt, I will show it to you.

Writing is guerrilla warfare on complacency; on hatred; on abuses both visceral and less tangible. It is a constant struggle to take hold of someone’s skull and turn their face back to the things they’re too ashamed to admit exist.

I am not a soldier. I am not a man of war. But I do carry weapons. These words go before me, honed and sharpened blades excising the necrotic flesh from the tissue of society. I am one voice, but I am legion: the world swells with my numbers, friends and colleagues, strangers and oracles; children of voice all. Let the chorus rage.

This is my battle cry. What’s yours?

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5 Responses to Intermission (Battle Cry)

  1. “Writing is guerrilla warfare on complacency” is a pretty good sound bite. Like it.
    Jane O’Dea once said that writers/artists were the canaries down the mine– there to detect trouble the rest of us had no chance of sensing until it was too late….

    • Well, I hadn’t been intending to create a sound bite, but I’ll happily take credit for it :D

      Although, now that I look at it, I may have unconsciously been quoting someone else, though I can’t think who if that’s the case. And I have to agree with O’Dea. Of course, that does present a rather troubling problem for North American culture since there is, especially in America, a disturbing trend toward the discontinuation of artistic funding that’s been building momentum for, I think it’s fair to say, decades. And with no proper system of “artistic patrons” in place in North America save a relatively few private and public organizations and individuals spread across far too many artists seeking aid, what does that say about our ability as a society to monitor the way in which we change, and where we’re headed? Journalism is the more literalist approach, but it misses too much in its mad rush to maintain the attention of an ever more disinterested populace.

      Oh look: dead canaries. Go figure.

  2. savantefolle says:

    Writing is shaking the legs of the throne of prejudice.

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