||[Dec. 25th, 2010|09:56 pm]
I've been meaning to read contemporary horror writer, Thomas Ligotti, for years. I first heard about him because he did some collaborations with Current 93, and then a while back a very dear person read him and liked him a lot.
But I kept putting it off. I'm always reading something, technically speaking, but I go through these periods where I read prolifically, but I've already go a long, fairly planned-out list; and then I go through periods where several books at once, but really slowly. I've been reading slowly all year, and it was mainly this year that I've had the thought of reading Thomas Ligotti.
Well, last night I finally decided to pick up his collection of stories called Teatro Grottesco. I was really impressed, like I was when I read Occultation over the summer, which is another collection of horror stories by another contemporary horror writer, Laird Barron. But at the same time I had another strong impression that goes beyond literary enjoyment. I had one of those feelings of recognition. I felt, basically, this guy is like me. This author and I are really on a similar wavelength.
What's funny is that I knew nothing about him in terms of biography. I just gathered that we have a similar sensibility from reading around 40 pages of his fiction. Just now I went to his website and started reading this new interview, and my original impression was very much affirmed. There were two obvious statements, which could pass as word-for-word quotes from me, and which, I believe, really say something about a person:
1. "I politically self-identify as a socialist. I want everyone to be as comfortable as they can be while they’re waiting to die. Unfortunately, the major part of Western civilization consists of capitalists, whom I regard as unadulterated savages. As long as we have to live in this world, what could be more sensible than to want yourself and others to suffer as little as possible?"
I don't need to elaborate on this. But he goes on to say something really pessimistic; essentially he says that making things better is impossible, because too many people are savages. I wouldn't say that. I'm much more optimistic, in that regard.
2. "I really don’t like the idea that this world, or any world, exists at all. However, what I mean in saying this is that I don’t like the fact that I exist or ever existed."
This is something that I always say, if not to other people, at least to myself. And that's literally how I feel, most of the time. I have an antagonistic view of being as such. I really don't like it. I think it's unfortunate that things (at least seem) to exist, even though I do manage to enjoy myself and have connections with other people.
I don't know what I'm getting at, exactly. In truth I don't know Ligotti, and if we met we might not have that much to talk about. Other things that he says in the interview suggest that we're not dopplegangers, at least. For example, he says that he's reclusive. I've had that sort of orientation most of my life, but these days I'm pretty social. Half the nights out of the week I'm hanging out with people, even when I have to work early the next morning.
Nevertheless, I do like to find points of similarity between me and authors I'm reading (not that I seek that out). It's not so much a fascination with their personal lives; I'm barely into that sort of thing nowadays. Instead, when I come across significant points of similarity, it allows me to go deeper into the text. If someone says that they don't like that the world exists, for instance, that's a pretty strong similarity to me. It maks me feel like, oh yeah, I can really dig where this guy is going with these stories. I get where he's coming from, or some shit like that.
In addition I get a strong atheistic vibe from these stories, whereas I'm 100% convinced that there is a God.