Over on Weirdfictionreview.com, Edward Gauvin has reproduced a “Weird Questionnaire” developed by the French. I’ll leave you to peruse the details over there, but over here I am posting my answers to what are at times uncomfortable questions. Perhaps you too will answer the questions and post your answers. If so, please cross-link to Gauvin’s post.
1. Write the first sentence of a novel, short story, or book of the weird yet to be written.
There was a whirring in the back of the shop that did not equate to the clocks, but was not a cricket, either, and nothing he could think of explained it.
2. Without looking at your watch: what time is it?
3. Look at your watch. What time is it?
4. How do you explain this?—?or these?—?discrepancy(ies) in time?
Discrepancies in time are mostly about the ways in which our activities stretch or shorten it. But also about the ways time has become fragmented. The discrepancy in the time as it exists and my idea of time is so small because we have no way of escaping representations of time in this age.
5. Do you believe in meteorological predictions?
Yes, to some extent.
6. Do you believe in astrological predictions?
No, except inasmuch that those who believe in them are then thus influenced in their behavior. They are haunted by these predictions and through the haunting sometimes they come true.
7. Do you gaze at the sky and stars by night?
8. What do you think of the sky and stars by night?
Overwhelming and troubling and sad and unknowable and in that vastness there is an odd comfort because it keeps humankind’s accomplishments small and in a tiny corner of something larger.
9. What were you looking at before starting this questionnaire?
A bad book of SF stories by a Catalan writer named Manuel de Pedrolo from the 1960s.
10. What do cathedrals, churches, mosques, shrines, synagogues, and other religious monuments inspire in you?
Transformation. I am continually transforming them from their purpose when I enter them, especially the more ornate they are. I don’t care what they’re really for—I just keep seeing them as something else, and repurposing the parts of them as if they were the parts of something else—the ribs of a behemoth, instead of cathedral arches, for example.
11. What would you have “seen” if you’d been blind?
I would’ve seen more texture, which is itself an entirely other land that we tend to forget, and I would have noticed more the way that in cathedrals the air pushes out and in in strange ways and how there can be pockets of quite icy air and it can be hot other places, and although this has a real explanation, the encounter of it on the skin is often unexpected and raises a kind of primal response.
12. What would you want to see if you were blind?
I would want to completely absorb myself in texture and touch. This is a world that would be, in the context of blindness, perhaps both scary and at the same time revelatory and would change my entire perception of the world. In fact, I might want for a time to only have the ability to absorb this kind of sensation.