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Old 02-23-2015   #1
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"Born to Fear": Slawek's Ligotti interview now available online

Many of you are familiar with the Ligotti interview conducted by TLO member Sławomir Wielhorski -- better known to us all as Slawek -- that appears in Born to Fear: Interviews with Thomas Ligotti, and that is in fact the source of the book's title. I'm pleased to announce that this interview is now available online at The Teeming Brain:

"Interview with Thomas Ligotti: Born to Fear"

What's more, the Internet version contains an additional question and answer that don't appear in the book. Gratitude for all of this is due to Slawek, who chose to make the interview freely available, and also to Tom and Subterranean Press for giving their blessing.

FWIW, here's one of my favorite moments:

Sławomir Wielhorski: To what extent do readers’ expectations influence the content of your stories? When writing, do you ever take into account the target audience, or do you only aim at creative self-expression?

Thomas Ligotti: In principle, self-expression is to me paramount in any work of art, particularly literary works. In using the term “self-expression” I’m speaking in a very loose way. No one can actually pinpoint who or what he is in any significant sense, let alone communicate that knowledge to another person, another “self.” Even if you could, there would be no way for anyone to know that this task had been successfully performed. These facts are obvious. But readers quite often do have the feeling that the person who wrote particular works of literature has had the same kind of thoughts and emotions that they have had. It would be strange if this phenomenon didn’t occur, given that whoever you are there are plenty of others who are enough like you to appreciate the kind of thing you write, especially if you are working with your personal experience as the central subject.

When I first began writing fiction, I realized that I knew very little about the world and that all I had to work with was me -- that my only source of material was my own life and that any attempt to do something else would be not only fraudulent but lame and unsuccessful as art or as expression. In Catcher in the Rye, the protagonist Holden Caulfield mentions reading books that make him wish he could be friends with the author and be able to call him on the phone and so forth. I would consider a literary work that made someone feel this way a success. Furthermore, it’s the only kind of success in literature that means anything to me.

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Old 02-26-2015   #2
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Re: "Born to Fear": Slawek's Ligotti interview now available online

This is exceptional news! Slawak and I go WAY back and I'm on my way to read the whole interview. This has made my day !!!

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 02-26-2015   #3
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Re: "Born to Fear": Slawek's Ligotti interview now available online

I have just finished the interview, which is great. The decision to use Born to Fear as the book's title was brilliant.

Thomas Ligotti knows the score.

Your fall should be like the fall of mountains. But I was before mountains. I was in the beginning, and shall be forever. The first and the last. The world come full circle. I am not the wheel. I am the hand that turns the wheel. I am Time, the Destroyer. I was the wind and the stars before this. Before planets. Before heaven and hell. And when all is done, I will be wind again, to blow this world as dust back into endless space. To me the coming and going of Man is as nothing.
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Old 02-26-2015   #4
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Re: "Born to Fear": Slawek's Ligotti interview now available online

Great interview.

However there does seem to be a tendency towards identifying only those authors who have a bent towards philosophical pessimism as being intrinsically capable of writing effective weird fiction. Perhaps inevitably, post-CATHR.

This acumen, to me however, is more a matter of the scope of the author's imagination, or else his ability to conjure waking nightmares, than of one's avowed worldview. I think Machen and Blackwood (by no means pessimists at all) are the equal of Poe and Lovecraft. (Not that I think either Poe or Lovecraft fit neatly into any "pessimist" box. Poe was an artist concerned with beauty above all, whereas Lovecraft was a self-declared skeptical indifferentist.)

And as for Grabinski, who's mentioned in the interview, he was very far removed from being a philosophical materialist, even if it could be claimed he was part of a pessimist camp.

Mark S.

"You have no idea how much nastier I'd be if I were not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being." Evelyn Waugh
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Old 03-05-2015   #5
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Thank you Matt for publishing the interview on the Teeming Brain and announcing it on TLO during my absence. I think the additional elements included in the Web version make it an even more engaging read. I am glad Tom's words are now available to everyone on the internet.

"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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