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Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck

(this post rearranged and expanded on the 16th January)

Karin Tidbeck’s Jagannath is awesome! Wow. Really really. Go check it out if you haven’t. Buy one for yourself and another Karin Tidbeckfor a friend. Because you’ll need to. I’ve clung to the advance review copy a friend kindly lent me – I didn’t know it released in November! So silly of me or I would have made a big whoop-di-doo about it then. I thought it was coming out beginning of this year. I’m giving the ARC back to my friend and eagerly awaiting my own copy in the mail. (The book, in the mail, that is, not me. Not yet anyway.) I’m displaying the cover on the sidebar because it impressed me that much.

Actually, while reading, savoring, and re-reading it I thought: this is what I want to write like. I’ve felt that way about Margo Lanagan and Theodora Goss. I am comfortable reading their stories – comfortable as in a gorgeous outfit that feels hand sewn to conform to my own unique body, as in fits perfectly, so much so that I might forget I was wearing any thing at all. And yet, many of these stories could be classified as “the weird” – they are set in places shifted one step to the left of our reality. Das Unheimliche is the perfect word to describe reading these authors. To create and straddle that divide, that balance, is talent. It is simply good writing, and it is honesty, and it is openness – it is courage.

Jagannath is an awesome collection of stories. Enchanting, weird, tender, surreal, through the mists, in your backyard, from childhood, through tomorrow, from sometime without time. Beautiful. Some read as myths solidified into story, into modern story where you can recognize things like a tv and a car and people in general. Some must be read through the mists of time and the boundary of reality. And despite the weirdness the characters act from their hearts, act with emotional honesty and truth that I could easily identify with them. That is an amazing stunt to pull off.

So thank you, Karin Tidbeck for giving me back my faith. Last winter (or the one before?) Cloud Atlas saved me. It brought me back from my depression, well, it gave me hope so I could climb out of my depression. I did feel that the novel had saved me. This winter, Jagannath saved me.

You’ll find excellent reviews by Indrapramit Das at Strange Horizons and by Sofia Samatar at The World SF Blog.

As to what I’ve been up to, writing and life-wise: Oh my. Let’s see, I’ve been sick as a dog, as they say, and finally into the second week I am feeling better. Thank goodness! But, wow!, that really kicked my arse.

Now that I’m up-right and feeling well enough to sit and think I’ve been revising the hell out of a short-story I’d written mid to late 2012. It’s a story I really like and I’m thrilled to see it shaping into something good. I was worried that my writing was crap to mediocre and that getting to anywhere near good was dreamland stuff or just really really theoretical.

Clarion West headerRamping up to submit both Clarion workshops’ applications. So, editing the hell out of short-story. Find information for Clarion West held in Seattle, WA here, and for Clarion at UC San Diego here.

clarion headerRe-posting the following from Ms. Lanagan’s blog:

02 December, 2012

Clarion West 2013 line-up

See? Margo Lanagan thinks so too.

Also kept plugging away writing snippets and jotting down thoughts and lines and phrases, because who knows? Well some of those snippets and jottings turned into interesting things. I have started two more stories this way. And I’m enjoying them. Their tone, style, and format are completely different from each other. That’s interesting to me, too.

I’ve been enjoying writing! Again, that is. But it has been a loooong while. I tear up thinking about it. It makes me so happy. Oh, it was grim there for a while, folks. Trudged through grey (I finally remembered the AE is with an “e”, not an “a” like I always want to spell it) cold lifeless writer landscapes. So cold. Numb. Frost bite. It was bad. But the greyness and cold have lifted. I am interested in what I’m writing. I like writing. I – like – writing. I like what I’m writing. And that’s even better.