Weird Tales: chiles samaniego on Being Left Behind

Writer: chiles samaniego
Weird Tales Story: Time and the Orpheus (Issue #352, Sept/Oct 2008)
Writer Bio: When asked to write about himself, chiles samaniego enjoys using lower case letters and the third person; “Easier to make things up about me that way,” he says. As a writer of fictions, he wonders if everything he writes might be true, and therefore not to be trusted.


Once again, i’m a few steps behind the Real World Out There, which is an awful place to find yourself when you’re trying to write and say things that are provocative or groundbreaking or in any way new and not pshawpfarpflepfart we’ve all heard that before. In this case: i’d been ruminating of late, that is to say, contemplating the idea of saying a few things about how much i have been for the most part these days getting bored with narrative, how i have lately tended towards things that layer rather than (/more than?/as well as?) propel, that build level upon level in many or all or no directions at all rather than one (usually meaning forward or reverse which is linear any which way you see it).

Like i said at the beginning, Once again, i’m a few steps behind the Real World Out There:

I hate narrative. I hate the narrative of aspiration. I hate Mythodology. I hate the narrativisation of contingent things, which is lying about how the world works; & the narrativisation of lumpy, uncorrected, real, unmade things, which is lying about how the world works; & the narrativisation of the unnarratable turbulent flow of events in time, which reveals your deep shocked fear of how the world works. I hate the vicious confidence trick closure, which says everything is shaped & meaningful according to the deep grammars & ideology of whoever you are. “Story” is so cheap. It is inappropriate in every circumstance, unless you are Condoleeza Rice trying to sell big murder, or unless you are trying to sell cosmetics, or unless you are Paul Coelho selling Spirituality to yummy mummies, mmmmmmm.

M. John Harrison

My own take on it is far less, er, passionate, but it amounts to much the same thing.

Mr Harrison is winding down his blog, and i, for one, admitting perhaps to voyeuristic tendencies i’m probably better off keeping in the dark, will miss peering into the RWOT through Uncle Zip’s Window.

The RWOT will just be that tiny bit less weird.

Here’s a short list of things i enjoyed reading in 2007 that i didn’t find very propulsive, that presented to me not so much a narrative as an unwinding, an unveiling, an exposition, or even a covering up of something or other, to illustrate what i mean:

A Sport and a Pastime, James Salter
Nova Swing, among other things that never happen, ie, things by M. John Harrison
The Book of Chameleons, Jose Eduardo Agualusa
The Speed of Light, Javier Cercas
Justine, Lawrence Durrell
The Atrocity Exhibition, J.G.Ballard
Alabaster (particularly when swallowed whole and considered in its entirety), Caitlin Kiernan
Amaryllis Night and Day and Fremder, Russell Hoban

i wonder if Mr Harrison would agree with this list, or if i’d misconstrued something else entirely as an agreement of aesthetics? Ah well, either way, this is what *i* mean.

Quite possibly the best thing i read this year was The Death of A Murderer by Rupert Thomson, which is as good an example of what i’m talking about as any.

Well, either that or Jeff Smith’s Bone, but Bone seems to me more of the other thing (ie, narrative) than what i’m talking about, so to mention it here would be putting the lie to what i’ve been saying…oops. Ah well. i revel in my own inconsistencies.