Walking between the old squatter cottages in The Jitties–in cold air and near dark, through mizzling rain–I hear a voice coming from a parked car. It’s American, intimate yet resonant, penetrating, conscious of an audience, and it’s reading from someone’s new novel, one of those clever first person deliveries designed to imply a listener in the text. There’s no driver in the car. There’s no one in the car at all. Its engine is running, it’s stopped at an angle at a corner in a billow of its own smoke. I walk past and go home thinking how much I’d like to win that Radio Four lottery and have my new book read that way, loudly but personably, to an empty lane at the end of November.
—M. John Harrison
Defy the voices.
Be the thing you want to be.
Remember that you are uniquely designed for the idea that is moving toward you.
You are good enough.
The idea is about to arrive.
The Red Hand Files, issue #9
So, friend, you think my face and legs in stone
Are signs that I have failed? Friend, think again.
When I ascended to my marble throne
The land was forest, meadow, lakeside glen.
I took it and I wasted it. This desert tract
Stands as my most expansive monument:
Dead-life, as blank as hope, as bald as fact.
I made a world of sand. And it's this spent
Stage-set, bleached clean, that I am proudest of—
More than my palaces and bling and war—
Because it's the perfection of my love
When my rule's push came to my people's shove.
We tyrants know what power's really for.
I made my desolation to endure.