Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Friday, August 05, 2016

Congratulations

to writer and anthologist Lynne Jamneck, who says, "Eight stories from Dreams From the Witch House: Female Voices of Lovecraftian Horror received honorable mentions by Ellen Datlow for "The Best Horror of the Year 8." 
Sonya Taaffe - “All Our Salt-Bottled Hearts”
Molly Tanzer - “But Only Because I Love You”
Marly Youmans - “The Child and the Night Gaunts”
Karen Heuler - “All Gods Great and Small”
R.A. Kaelin - “Mnemeros”
Storm Constantine - “From the Cold Dark Sea”
Amanda Downum - “Spore”
Gemma Files - “Every Hole in the Earth We Will Claim as Our Own”
(And thanks to Lynne Jamneck for the request.)

16 comments:

  1. Brava! I will try to find a copy. I could use a few chills, thrills, and terrifying tumbles in the Lovecraftian fashion. I continue to be most impressed with the range and quality of your adventures. I'm honored to know you, even if it is only through the limited "virtual reality" of blogging.

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    1. I think it's a compliment to Lynne to have so many. And thanks!

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  2. it's hard to imagine pastiching Lovecraft... he had such a distinct style(bad, according to some); i read a lot of him when young; oh the dark things of the earth! scared myself a lot, too, venturing through unknown Kaddath...

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    1. Oh, young Mudpuddle, dark with strange imaginings!

      I wouldn't dare do a straight-up pastiche without rereading him--like you, I read him at a younger age--but I simply pilfered his night gaunts for something new. I was away visiting my mother at the time, and stayed up to write a small story with the poisonous pokeberry stems tapping at the glass and the dark outlines of mountains looming dimly beyond the window. It felt appropriate to the enterprise! My piece is small and strange and somewhat of a homage to Lovecraft the child.

      I have enjoyed doing requests--they take me somewhere I would never have gone otherwise.

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  3. A nod from Datlow is pretty good! Congratulations!

    Lovecraft seems to be making a bit of a resurgence right now. I know a good number of twenty- and thirty-somethings who are reading him, and last year or the year before I read a long collection of stories.

    I'll have to get my local shop to order me a copy; I'd love to see what you've done with boy Lovecraft.

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    1. Mine is but a small thing! I've published with Ellen when she was editor of a magazine and an anthology, and also met her through the KGB reading series. She's wonderfully knowledgeable.

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  4. It's curious to see a resurgence of interest in Lovecraft at the same time the World Fantasy Award people have decided to stop using a caricature of him as their trophy "because racism," as the kids say. Projects like this book sound like a much better way to deal with the checkered past of SF and fantasy than to break out the fainting couches and smelling salts.

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    1. There's a huge question about whether or not to whitewash history, isn't there? Like Yale heading in to change names on buildings of important historical figures because they were not like us in their beliefs and actions... And that example is especially curious because they would have to get rid of "Yale" to "purify" their own history! One of the impulses of our times. But what countries have tried to do such things in the past, and why? It's an interesting question and answer.

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    2. Indeed—I'm usually unsettled by it, but then when, say, Hungarians clear their public parks of communist kitsch and dump all the statues in a single square for the morbid amusement of tourists, I cheer. I suppose I see a difference between the productive disavowing and mocking a calamitous 75-year experiment in utopianism, as is the case in Hungary, and the ritualistic but inconsequential disavowal of privilege, as is the case with Yale.

      The cash-strapped National Cathedral recently announced it would remove a tiny Confederate flag from a stained-glass window depicting the Civil War. To my knowledge, no adult beholding the window has collapsed from shock, unable to understand the historical context—but the cathedral leadership is keen to signal its virtue, and strenuously. I can't help but observe that no individual in these cases ever has to give up anything, lessen their lot in life, or pay any real price for their ill-gotten privilege. There's lots of this hollow virtue signaling going on in our culture these days, and it's a status game I confess I don't fully understand.

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    3. A well-composed argument: perhaps you ought to send it to the Cathedral!

      There are miles and miles of difference, to me, between statues erected in the past by the contributions of ordinary (and sometimes extraordinary) people and the realm of Communist propaganda kitsch erected by the state. One is true to its time and the bulk of its citizenry, the other is forced upon the people. The fact that we now think differently is no reason to tear down evidence of the colorful but politically incorrect past. It's good to remember our mistakes, and they are, like it or not, our history.

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    4. We're truly on the same page when it comes to communism, and "it's good to remember our mistakes" strikes me as one of the best concise arguments I've ever heard for avoiding the whitewashing of history in the name of impossible retroactive justice.

      (Sorry for the delay in responding! We cruised down to Tennessee to hike the Smokies this week and discovered Cherokee storytellers in North Carolina along the way....)

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    5. Did you go to the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough? I spent the night at a charming old inn in Jonesborough with my mother about a year ago and had a grand time. (I am remembering a marvelous slice of cake, too!)

      And did you go near my stomping grounds in Cullowhee? I'm there at least twice a year, so next time, tell me! I'd love to meet you both.

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  5. Wow, no, I didn't know the center existed—but I'm glad I do now. This was our second vacation in the area, and we continue to be overwhelmed by how much there is to see and do in Tennessee and western North Carolina. We're certain to going back. (I'm sure we'll all cross paths in person at some point!)

    We used goofy Gatlinburg as our jumping-off point for several days of hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but we also spent part of two days in Cherokee, North Carolina, in the Qualla Boundary. Diane, brilliantly, was able to research beyond the usual attractions (the Cherokee museum—which was really good—and the European-style outdoor history play) and find something terrific and rare: on weekend evenings in the summer, they light a small fire along the river and for two hours, young Cherokee storytellers, deceptively casual, just...do their thing. With history on his mind, our first storyteller debunked stereotypes being exploited at tourist traps around the town and told us, in great detail, how his ancestors used special weapons to maim and kill white bounty hunters; he then told a multigenerational story about justice and respect for the elderly. The second storyteller spun a funny animal tale, an allegory about anti-Indian racism, and a religious story about the choices of the individual human soul.

    I'm not sure many of our fellow tourists realized what a real and special tradition these young men were sharing with them. If they expected Short Attention Span Theater, they were likely disappointed, and the stories weren't edited to make white visitors comfortable. But it was my first time seeing oral storytellers doing what I've only read about for years, and I was transfixed.

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    1. You were only a 20 minute hop from Cullowhee, and I know exactly where you were! Sounds as if you had a wonderful evening. Did you go visit the elk, too? There's a herd doing quite well in Cherokee, and you can usually see them at a bridge across the street from the high school. The museums are getting better all the time; I've gone with various visiting people many times over the years.

      I have a good friend from Little Canada (a traditionally Scots-Irish area that still had no paved roads when I was in high school) who is a storyteller. A lot of hers are quite funny, and again you get a strong sense of the past and culture ways.

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    2. Our timing wasn't right to see the elk in Cherokee, but we did see them emerging into a field in the early evening just inside the park boundaries. We also spotted two bears, one a little too close for comfort along a hiking trail to a waterfall. (A third one was apparently in the open-air stairwell next to our motel room just moments before we returned one evening.)

      It's funny: Cherokee wasn't originally on our itinerary. We had planned to spend a day in Asheville checking out Carl Sandburg's house and browsing at the craft guilds—but the mountains had other plans for us, as mountains often do....

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    3. If you want craft guilds, you should go in July or October for The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands (it's in the U. S. Cellular building in downtown Asheville.) I haven't been in probably a decade but was thinking of trying to make it this year.

      Lots of lovely things to do in the mountains... My mother has had some bear troubles. She had a bad bear (so we heard, but he never did anything dangerous on her land) that liked to use her path to the garden and was eventually shot. And recently she woke up to find one in the big Cornus Kousa in a stone planter outside. The tree had quite a crop of dogwood berries, and he wanted them--broke some limbs getting them down. She often has had foxes and raccoons and more.

      The stone portion of my mothers house was built by Cherokee masons. A family of Squirrels.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.