Helen Marshall’s book Hair Side, Flesh Side has recently been published. I was so excited about reading it that I wanted to interview her and get some further insights.
You can check out my review of Hair Side, Flesh Side posted on October 27, 2012.
Check out this interview on November 15 to get some more insights on the interplay between memory and haunting, the role of Weird Fiction, the importance of the body in fiction, the way past authors speak to current authors, and Canada as a place that is struggling with ideas of memory.
Here are some highlights from the interview to tease and intrigue you:
Helen Marshall: “I love the feeling of reclaiming some piece of the past that was otherwise lost. Even if it is only the barest trace of human presence in an object that seems otherwise opaque and indecipherable.”
Helen Marshall: “I think the macabre in Canadian fiction accomplishes what the macabre accomplishes in all fiction: it gives us a sense of our own mortality, of the body as something that will inevitably die. It reacquaints us with fear, and at the same time it enlivens us.”
Helen Marshall: “What I find I love about ‘weird fiction’ is the utter delight its authors take in surprising the reader, giving us something we haven’t seen before, taking risks in both form and content”
Helen Marshall: “An author has to find a way to shut up all those bits that are outwardly focused, at least for a moment.”
Helen Marshall: “The study of the past is a way of recovering memories, I think, of rediscovering things that have been forgotten, lives that have been lived. And art, or writing anyway, is really a way of making ourselves live longer and speak louder than we might otherwise.”
Helen Marshall: “Canada has always seemed to me to be a place struggling with memory.”
Helen Marshall: “We desperately want a control over our bodies we don’t have. That scares me. That scares me a lot. There’s something terribly frightening about the idea that the thing that seems to be most me is something I can’t control.”
Helen Marshall: “For me, the process of writing strange fiction is falling into a world where each new revelation comes with a shock—but also with a sense of recognition.”
Helen Marshall: “Travel to new cities opens up in my eyes to the world around me again after I’ve got a little too comfortable. But at the same time the city is a place where it is easy to disappear. Or to reinvent yourself. It seems to give you the promise of a blank slate. But the problem, of course, is that everywhere you go, you carry yourself with you. When you wipe the slate clean, you’ll always find a point where bits of your old self start to bleed through again.”
Helen Marshall: “For me ghosts are terrifying because they are us. What I see when I look at a ghost is myself. And so if the ghost is really just an image of your own future—that is, you when you are dead, the you that you can’t comprehend or imagine—then in some way you are also the ghost of your own future self.”
I hope that all of you enjoy her interview on November 15 as much as I enjoyed the experience of interviewing her. You can read a bit more about Helen Marshall at her website http://www.manuscriptgal.com/ . If you haven’t read Hair Side, Flesh Side yet, you can get a taste of her work by reading her short story “Blessed” for free at http://hairsidefleshside.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/BlessedPromo.pdf