(The writer Sir Tessa, in a contemplative moment, reciting Proust to a captive audience.)
The Emerging Writer interview I conducted for Clarkesworld had an unexpected side effect–putting writers in mind of how they emerged, or how they would like to emerge; similar in a way to the secret I revealed in this blog post, about how writers molt.
Sir Tessa instigated it, of course, with this interpretation of emerging: “I like the idea of ’emerging’. It puts me in mind of the headhuggers in Alien. The egg peels open, I extend my creepy-arse legs over the lip, I emerge, and then I leap at you, shove my gonads in your face and ram my proboscis down your throat and lay eggs in your chest, and then those eggs hatch and a wee bebe alien emerges. From your chest. At velocity. I would like to one day write a story that has that sort of effect on the reader. It would probably put me in gaol. Oh well. Totally worth it. You suffer for my art!”
…which, after a chuckle between me and KJ Bishop led to Bishop’s observation that she “was more like something discovered under a rock–a colourful grub, perhaps, like one of those painting maggots.” (Although she added that now she’s done emerging, ‘I will be like a Japanese movie monster. I shall publish no more novels, in order to save Tokyo from destruction when I grow to be 100 feet tall with laser beams sizzling from my eyes.'” Don’t ask how we got to that point…)
When I think of how I “emerged,” I was a creature with a long gestation period, something that had a long juvenile stage or stages. Some slow-growing cephalopod, suddenly scooped out of the sea by Michael Moorcock and genetically altered to live on land. And then undergoing further mutations year after year. Steady evolution–or devolution, depending on your point of view.
But this metamorphosis through strange creatures, for fun or for keeps, isn’t new. A member of Kafka’s writing group saw him, prior to his fame, as a somewhat timid “moon-blue mouse.”
So, if you’re emerging, how do you see yourself? And if you’ve already emerged, looking back, how did you emerge?