Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Weird Fiction WIP: "The Alternative Translation."

I love Weird fiction, but am surprised by how I've not veered that way with my writing more often.  I must say, though, with some current developments, re-acquainting myself with some of the old masters and new who explore the Weird as well as Cosmic side avenues, I sense a shifting in my focus, one I gleefully embrace.  Of course, my take might not exactly fit into the true definition of Weird fiction, or even New Weirdbut I know I will be exploring it more often now.

When I first started writing tales, I focused on Horror.  Over time and with life battering me around, it stumbled into other speculative fiction alleys out of psychological necessity or something of that nature.  Anyway, through it all, it seems to me I had only dabbled in Weird fiction, yet it was always around, circling as a vulture waiting to pounce not on something dead, but something taking form within my writing.  That something has stepped up big time in some recent fiction ventures.

Just yesterday, I completed a novelette entitled, Autumn in the Abyss; yes, there will be some tweaking and such to make sure it is what it needs to be, but it's all there and it's a beauty, one of my best.  A dense,  psychological affair in which the mind is haloed in elements I would call Weird.  Not purely Weird, that wasn't my starting point with this one, but the trimmings are stained with it.

The story that steered me directly into Weird territory was just an idea, as mentioned in the previous blog, influenced by Lovecraft's The Shadow Out of Time.  No, influence is the wrong word, let's just say while reading the descriptive, alien elements in that story, my mind latched on to a completely alien image and...wow.  Something so weird I was taken aback by it, not kidding.  But now the story is taking shape and, dare I say--and should I admit this?--it seems as though it might end up being the, um...sweetest piece I've ever written, yet it also might have the single most weird scene within it, two actually, but the main one, man, that image--a gift, as I've said before.  Yet, again, the story is not pure Weird fiction, yet holds it closer to its heart.  Oh, and the story is tentatively called, The Great God Pollock.

What?  Yes, I said sweetest.  Deal with it.  Darkness comes in many shades...

Excuse me, thinking of sweetness, Happy Birthday to my fantastic sister, Valerie.  When I was almost seven, she was born.  My mother talked to me on the phone and asked me what we should name her.  I had a crush on a girl named Valerie at school--yeah, even at seven--so I suggested Valerie.  No, that's not too weird, but it's life.

Where was I?

Ah, but the story that I knew I wanted to take heavy into the Weird territory was one started quite a while ago, and just a couple days ago I saw the way into the final third that was necessary, a matter of deleting some latter scenes, shaping them differently or, as usual allowing the characters to shape them properly.  Whatever, this one, though still steeped in what I do, wears the cloak of Weird Fiction quite handsomely.  It's called The Alternative Translation and...

Oddly enough, along with the Weird elements traipsing through these tales, each one is connected by obtuse, just outright weird contortions of language, not in the writing itself, just the ideas that take language down rarely if ever trodden paths.  Hard to describe but, for example, with The Great God Pollock, the weird scene that drew me to it is an expression of language, but not as we know or understand it, something so alien it simply shook me to the core with awe.  Yes, awe.  With The Alternative Translation, who says words are the only means of language expression?  Perhaps one needs to experience another's language in order to get it; and the experience suggested here is of such a gruesome manner...  Oh, yeah, totally weird stuff there, haha...  As for Autumn in the Abyss, the power and intent of words leads to such bizarre revelations I...well, you'll just have to read it when it's published.  I'm thinking it might just be the title story for my next collection, but we will see...

Anyway enough of my rambling, here's the first little bit from the WIP The Alternative Translation, still rough but working it.



     Rumor was Lorraine Blackthorne had written an alternative translation to notorious necromancer Alessandro Vernielli’s infamous 1841 tome of the black arts, Vox Terrae--The Voice of the Earth.  The alternative language was in question, as well as evidence of its actuality.  Her initial translation had been from Latin to Italian, a refinement of previous translations, the definitive text.  Months of toil had left us bereft and mentally exhausted, until a week ago, much to our surprise, Alicia, my partner, confidante, and fellow explorer of the dark arts came upon a slim article via a website specializing in obscure occult matters.  Though the article was a mere few detailed lines, a more concrete confirmation of the existence of the alternative translation filled us with determination, fueling our spirits with the possibility that, through perseverance, we would eventually procure a copy.
     Of course, this revelation was made moot when, later that evening as I went to gather her for bed, drowsy after a few more hours of online research, I found my lovely Alicia in her comfy chair in the library--"my throne," she called it, "your queen's throne, my king"--cold to the touch, her face slack, defeated.  Her eyes were glossy, staring into the always shadowy corner next to one of the many overflowing bookcases, while her mouth was a chapped-lip wound, dried blood sealing the cracks like caulk to tiles.  Her expression, one usually of a serene quality polished by concentration, expressed in its silent repose a somber dread that forced me to my knees.  My tears were plentiful, yet steeped in confusion, for there was an uncharacteristically sloppy note resting as an abandoned trawler on the sleeping lake that was her chest as she slumped lifeless in the chair: a suicide note, which seemed an impossible path for her to endeavor.  
     I found a pharmacy of uncapped pill bottles surrounding the chair, a moat of drugged death.  Morphine, Vicodin, and sundry other pills.  She'd had many physical impairments, a product of her psychic abilities, she informed me--"those with psychic gifts suffer the consequences of physical deterioration"--apparently making sure to get the job done right.  She'd swallowed all of them, leaving none for me to join her amidst my shock.  Normally, ingesting so many pills would only make one sick, induce vomiting, but here, now…she had succeeded in attaining her ghastly goal. 
     The note was more confounding than her Death-embraced appearance: "Blackthorne is the key.  I’ve found the alternative translation.  I’ve found the path to eternal life."  Eternal life?  As the stench of her fresh death grew pungent, decay awakening within her eternally sleeping body, the validity of her claim was discredited amidst my despair as I lay my head on her silent breast.
     For the next six months, Depression took the reins and rode me hard, a blackened horse-drawn carriage pulled by the sinister steeds, Grief and Turmoil.  Hooves digging deep into the soil of my downward spiraling soul.


Just a bit, but I think it's taking shape in a lovely way.

Let's see...here's a piece of art, Image, Number 8, by Jackson Pollock, who's art plays a key role in that one story I noted above and I'm sure you can figure out which one.  

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