Helen Marshall: Write your kink
The Aurora-winning poet and SF author on the importance of embracing your own eccentricities in your writing.
Write your obsession. Write your kink. Write the thing that keeps you up at three AM, the thing that your girlfriend tells you is weird, the thing that deep down is most you at that stage of your life. It's those fetishes and eccentricities that allow you to make the familiar strange and unsettling. My current writing emerges out of my obsession with medieval manuscripts and literature, and so it features a young girl whose divorced parents give her the relicts of dead saints on her birthday; another story centres on a woman who discovers a lost manuscript of Jane Austen written on the inside of her skin. But when I tell people about these stories I can sometimes see a little flash—recognition, or surprise maybe—light up their faces. That's the look I'm going for. Something that shows I've translated the electric third-rail of my own passion into a moment of wonder."
Aurora-winning poet Helen Marshall is an author, editor, and fourteenth-century book historian. In 2011, she published a collection of poetry with Kelp Queen Press called Skeleton Leaves that “[took] the children’s classic, [stripped] away the flesh, and [revealed] the dark heart of Peter Pan beating beneath.” The collection was jury-selected for the Preliminary Ballot of the Bram Stoker Award for excellence in Horror, nominated for a Rhysling Award for Science Fiction Poetry and won the Aurora Award for best Canadian speculative poem. Her début collection of short stories, Hair Side, Flesh Side will be released November 2012 from ChiZine Publications.