Weird in a Cave, Weird in a Phone Booth, Weird in a Tunnel, Weird in a Maze

Jeff VanderMeer • August 24th, 2011 @ 3:08 pm • Culture


Living with the proof pages of our THE WEIRD anthology has been a little like living in close quarters in a cave with a snuffling, rain-soaked, ravenous bear that at times is all-too-real and at times is a ghost or a hallucination. You get claustrophobic, paranoid, jumpy, itchy, smelly, hunched over, flinchy, and irritable. You’re drinking too much coffee, poring over too many pages, eyeballs imprinted with the flash-imprinted image of story notes and page breaks and title treatments. The days merge together because you’re doing nothing other than checking things from the time you get up in the morning until when you go to bed at night. The stacks of print-outs rise. You start talking to yourself, and you start talking to the bear. You begin to wonder what readers are going to think, and every time you see the words “The Beak Doctor” you start cackling. When you come across a short novel embedded in the antho, you do a little jig. You become a sloth—just two huge eyes staring at things from matted fur—and then you realize you’ve become a sloth, but it’s too late…you’re a sloth. You’re a sloth talking to a ghost bear in a cave in the middle of the night, and you realize vaguely, with a kind of distant interest, that it’ll end soon, but you’re not sure when…so you better be on good terms with the bear.


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