Tuesday Therapy: Writing Out Loud

For this week’s Tuesday Therapy, Allyson Bird muses about feelings of isolation, censorship, and writing as a vehicle for exploring and understanding the world around us. Allyson’s collection, Bull Running for Girls, won the British Fantasy Society Award for Best Collection 2009. Isis Unbound, her debut novel, has been nominated for the 2011 Stoker award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ally!

Authors might be in isolation but we are not isolated from what goes on around us. Emotional reactions to events in the world run through my work. Story is linked to what horrors surround us in real life. I’m just writing a Ligottian piece and my thoughts eventually turned to censorship. A future with sponsors/publishers not wanting to handle certain material. Playing it too safe. Vanilla. And also people not wanting to speak out in case the attention turns to them. All dressing the same because to look different can lead to being killed, as in Sophie Lancaster‘s case. What will the world be like in twenty years? If the indicators are anything to go by…perhaps horror ‘book burning’ isn’t so far off. So I’ll get my weird stories written and perhaps read (there is already a backlash towards ebook content and payment) whilst I can.

Shakespeare. Angela Carter. Nabokov? Will there also be a demand for Leda and the Swan to be taken from a gallery one day because some poor person walked down a corridor and claimed that the content was ‘offensive’ and shouldn’t be on display?

And my advice to authors…write what you want. Be brave. And if you see something you think is wrong speak out or at the very least write about it. Dare to stand alone. Inevitably there will be always someone willing to stand next to you. And don’t greet what is going on in the world with silence.

Silence can be deafening.

Allyson Bird lives in the Wairarapa New Zealand with her husband and daughter. Occasionally she is drawn to strange places and people, and occasionally they are drawn to her. Her favourite playground, both as an adult and child, is the village graveyard. Once she wondered what would happen if she took one of the green stones from a grave. She has been looking over her shoulder ever since but has never given it back. Her debut collection, Bull Running for Girls, won best collection in the British Fantasy Society awards 2009. Dark Regions Press published her second collection of stories, Wine and Rank Poison, in October of 2010. She is co-editor, with Joel Lane, of the anthology Never Again from Gray Friar Press. Never Again is an attempt to voice the collective revulsion of writers in the weird fiction genre against political attitudes that stifle compassion and deny our collective human inheritance. The imagination is crucial to an understanding both of human diversity and of common ground. Weird fiction is often stigmatised as a reactionary and ignorant genre—we know better. The anthology was published by Gray Friar Press in September 2010. Isis Unbound is her debut novel. You can visit Allyson’s website here.


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