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Old 04-05-2006   #1
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An Interview with Louis Miguel Riaz

This "interview" appeared in Grimoire #2 Fall 1982. TL has some fun interviewing himself or his alias, Louis Miguel Riaz. In the introduction to this issue, it has this to say: "Andrew Joron writes of "A Beautiful Disease" many would like to catch, while our interview this issue is with exiled surrealist Louis Miguel Riaz, who certain governmental agencies would also like to catch." A dangerous character indeed.


AN INTERVIEW WITH LOUIS MIGUEL RIAZ


GRIMOIRE: Could you please explain the term "automatic horror" and how this process works.

RIAZ: I can easily explain the term itself, which simply denotes the consequences of "automatic writing" when applied to the utmost limit. If a writer allows the deepest stratum of his consciousness to do the talking, the transcript of oratory will always be one that is appalling, in varying ways and degrees, to the upper levels.

GRIMOIRE: But how automatic is automatic horror? Yours seem every bit as structured as, if you'll pardon the expression, manual narratives. Consciously controlled, that is.

RIAZ: You're assuming there's no structure to be found in the abyss of the individual mind and perhaps not even in the fundament of being itself. That the universe is founded upon an indifferent chaos has traditionally been a soothing conception. The infinite armies of atoms are blameless because they care not what they do. They're not responsible for their own nightmare by virtue of the universal disarray. But so does a bed of crystals seem to be a disarray, until you observe the rigid inner design. And in automatic horror the design observed can be a very dismaying one, at least to those sensitive enough to catch on. Of course not all instances of automatic writing yield such horrific treasures, meaning that the practitioner's brain did not touch absolute bottom. Then again, there may be more involved than merely searching the depths of an individual consciousness. Automatic horror could be a breaking through to some supra-zone linked to all matter and sensation. But this intrudes upon the totally unknown and its establishable validity, in my opinion, is ultimate zero. Theoretically, of course, this concept is crawling with possibilities.

GRIMOIRE: Perhaps you could elaborate on some of them for us.

RIAZ: I really don't think I should have to. The idea that if a brain with a penchant for literary composition can penetrate to the fount of its own awareness, it will inevitably produce horror texts is certainly not new with my writing. Others have already repeatedly exploited this principle in their own works, that ultimate knowledge is ultimate horror, that to understand all is to dread all, etcetera.

GRIMOIRE: Are you saying that automatic horror is just another backdrop to literary creation?

RIAZ: From a certain viewpoint --not my own--yes, that's all I'm saying. My own viewpoint claims much more. You have to understand that for years I've lived and breathed what you've termed a "backdrop to literary creation." If my outlook is a somewhat dogmatic one, it has not been arrived at hastily or without laborious examination. All the mocking services of my skepticism have been placed at my imagination's disposal. At grave personal risk, I might add.

GRIMOIRE: Your experiments in automatic horror.

RIAZ: Yes. There is, of course, much more involved than sitting at a desk where a blank sheet of paper and a steaming cup of coffee have been placed in convenient proximity. In fact, this is hardly ever the case. More often I'm undergoing or have just emerged from some critical turbulence of the psyche, not to say it doesn't reach beyond this handy psychological focus. And this, I'd like to point out, is only superficially related to those simulated states of mental turmoil used by the surrealists of old for their production line automatic writings. I've never simulated anything.

GRIMOIRE: Is it true that you deliberately incited a group of roughnecks in a bar to threaten your life in order to write "Thou Strike Me Dead"?

RIAZ: Of course it isn't true. I religiously avoid instigating conflicts both within and outside of myself. I equally avoid avoiding them. If some instance of internal or external derangement arises, I merely do my best to let it take its course and lead me where it will. But the difficult, the impossible thing is to follow it all the way without at some point having your involuntary protective mechanisms force you to turn back. Even the most minor crisis cannot be allowed full flow, because even the least trickle of chaos will lead you back to that infinite ocean of horrors which is the source of all being. For instance, a moment of panic deriving from some precarious episode on the highway, if you could only keep from blocking out its implications, would pulverize your every atom right down to the dead cells of your toenails.

GRIMOIRE: And if you could withstand such an onslaught of information and then express it in language...

RIAZ: Yes, you could write the words that would drive the reader mad, the truly forbidden book. This is only a mythical beast of horror fiction, though. No writer could ever approach this achievement, except perhaps by sheer accident, that is automatically. This cataclysmic act would have to be unthinking in the extreme, like jumping off a high building, just to see what it felt like, and only remembering on the way down that you would die and never have the leisure to contemplate your experience. It would be self-assassination of the most thorough kind. You would literally destroy whatever cohesive stuff it is that enables you to sustain whatever illusions your existence is based upon. The worst always happens, or seems to, automatically, by accident. Who would ever desire such a thing?

GRIMOIRE: I'ts been said that you did in your narrative about the New Orleans bordello which by force of voodoo managed to impress an old-fashioned angel into the services of the house. The concluding passage where the protagonist imagines he's eating the angelified flesh...

RIAZ: Are there many other questions? I'm rather tired.

GRIMOIRE: Just a few more, if you would be so kind. It might seem like a lot to ask, but could you give a brief definition of horror.

RIAZ: I don't think a definition is so much needed as a history, an excavation into horror's origins. This is a monumental undertaking and right now I could only sketch out the first few pages of such a chronicle. Should I bother?

GRIMOIRE: Please do, by all means.

RIAZ: All right, then. First, horror did not always exist and is probably not universal among all the varieties of sentient life. Though the horror experienced by certain types of vegetable and animal life under certain conditions may be an unending source of speculation, I can only speak with authority for my own kind. We can imagine that the first experience of horror was bestowed upon a humanal prototype just below the line of Australopithecus. This creature might have been swimming across a narrow width of river to reach his primitive social unit, vaguely musing on the meal and mate waiting for him on the other side. But suddenly the fulfillment of his diffuse but intense longings is threatened, as they have been countless times in the past. This time the threat takes the form of a fishy predator with a man-sized mouth which is wide open and heading straight for our hungry/lonely pre-human. But this time a new dimension of feeling emerges from the crisis of physical survival. Og, or whatever him name may be, swims as fast as he can toward safety, but as he thrashes through the murky water it becomes clear to him, in a way it never was before, just what is happening, and for the first time he is consciously, brilliantly aware of what may happen if he doesn't reach shore before The Beast reaches his hysterically paddling feet. He will be reduced to a morsel, the kind he unthinkingly shoves into his own mouth every day of his life. Post-morselization, he will never see others of his kind again, and they will never see him. But the formula for true horror is not complete until Og asks himself that utterly unnecessary and unanswerable question: How could a thing like this happen? Even when Og is safely on the river bank and panting from his ordeal, this question continues to haunt him. Afterward the whole world looks different, very strange. And The Beast, which previously was confined to the world of water, now lives everywhere-- in flowers, in shadows, even in dead things. It lives in the moon and sweeps down every night to invade Og's dreams. It lives in the very air Og breathes. At first no one else understands what Og's problem is. But it is only a matter of time before everyone begins seeing The Beast, whether it's really there or not, and Horror has been delivered into the world. Do you get the general idea?

GRIMOIRE: Yes, it seems clear enough. One last question. Are you still writing horror and will you continue to do so?

RIAZ: Briefly, yes I am. But whether or not I will continue to produce horror texts is not really up to me. I will as long as my inspiration is going strong. Frankly, though, I look forward to the day when it peters out, when I've exhausted every horrific theme latent within my brain. Let someone else write the work that drives everyone mad. I'll just sit and stare out the window and watch the seasons pass. After all, perhaps the only true happiness, the only true glory, lies midway between absolute horror and absolute boredom: dreaming at your ease, waiting for a coffee and dessert to be served to you in a pleasant restaurant with a good view of the twilight...

GRIMOIRE: Thank you, Mr. Riaz.

RIAZ: My pleasure.
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Old 04-05-2006   #2
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Re: An Interview with Louis Miguel Riaz

Thanks for sharing this one bendk!

You seem to have a vast collection of rare magazines indeed! Will there be more to follow? I surely hope so.

"How he made them laugh... sometimes"
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Old 04-05-2006   #3
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I absolutely love it, bendk. What a treat. Thanks for posting this.

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Old 04-05-2006   #4
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Re: An Interview with Louis Miguel Riaz

What a brilliant interview. I was looking forward to reading this, ever since I have seen this listed in TL's bibliography. However, I was also aware of the fact that I'll probably never be able to get this issue of Grimoire.
Thanks a lot for sharing this with us, bendk. You've always contributed great stuff to Nightmare Network!

"In my imagination, I have a small apartment in a small town where I live alone and gaze through a window at a wintry landscape." -- TL
Confusio Linguarum - visionary literature, translingualism & bibliophily
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Old 04-05-2006   #5
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Re: An Interview with Louis Miguel Riaz

Hmm... As I writer of fiction, and the sadistic ringmaster of a few chosen players of Call of Cthulhu, you can expect a few of this half-real fellows tales lying here and there...

"And into his dreams he fell...and forever."
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Old 04-05-2006   #6
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I've seen these Grimoire magazines floating around on ebay a lot recently. Very interesting interview. I'm curious to read some of these texts that have been mentioned in the magazines

there is no stronger drug than reality

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Old 04-06-2006   #7
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Re: An Interview with Louis Miguel Riaz

Glad you enjoyed the interview, guys. Thanks for the kind words. I really liked it too. TL is funny and insightful. Og and his post-morselization musings cracked me up. But I wouldn't be surprised if the origin of horror is not dissimilar to what TL imagines. I recently acquired some more material by TL that I look forward to posting. Always fun to share with my fellow Ligottians.

P.S. I made an error in the second Riaz response, next to last sentence. I typed established validity. It has been corrected to establishable validity. I also should have posted this under interviews. Just not thinking. My apologies.
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Old 04-06-2006   #8
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Re: An Interview with Louis Miguel Riaz

Very nice indeed, Bendk. Thanks a million for sharing.

My story NOWHERE TO GO was published by PS PUBLISHING in a book titled POSTSCRIPTS #14 in England in 2008. Let me know if you've read it. If you'd like to contact me, send me a Private Message.
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Old 04-06-2006   #9
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Re: An Interview with Louis Miguel Riaz

Yes, letme thank you too. This is very nice stuff to have. The other items would be appreciated. As Alan Watts says, everyone of us has that element of irreducible rascality in us. Tom's thought here are very interesting.

"Think of it [Mr. Veech] -- wood waking up."
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Old 04-06-2006   #10
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Re: An Interview with Louis Miguel Riaz

Thank you so much for posting this interview.

I would love to see TL interview Brother Theodore. Too bad Brother Theodore is dead.

Post-morselization indeed!

Cheers!

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