I loved Lovecraft Country, so I’ve been on a bit of a Matt Ruff kick. Here is a great piece where Ruff and Victor LaValle talk about their recent Lovecraft-related reimaginings (lots of spoilers though):
I recall one conversation that could qualify as the inspirational Ur-moment for Lovecraft Country. I’ve always liked to take long walks so I can be alone and think, and Cornell, for me, was paradise for hiking. I used to go for these epic rambles in the farmlands surrounding the campus. And one day I was coming back and I stopped by Ujamaa to see Joe, and I told him what I’d been doing and suggested that he might enjoy hiking, too. And he kind of laughed and said, “Yeah, that sounds like fun, but I can’t go walking around in white farm country.” And I’m like, “What are you talking about? This isn’t the Deep South. We’re in New York State.” And he laughed again and said, “Yeah, Matt. We’re in New York State.” At which point I stopped and actually thought about it — thought about the people I’d see when I was out hiking. It’s true, they were all white, and a lot of them had dogs with them, or gun racks in their pick-up trucks. I never got hassled, even when my hair was long, but if I’d looked like Joe, things might have gone differently. And those back roads were awfully lonely, if you did get in trouble.
So in part because the hiking was such an essential thing for me, this made a lasting impression, and I understood in a way I hadn’t before that even though we shared the same geography, Joe and I were in a sense living in two different countries, with the borders drawn much more tightly around his.
I also liked this link from Ruff’s About the author page: “An Interesting Moral Education”.
The way I tend to deal with tragic events is by containing them in narrative. If something bad happens to me, I’ll tell it to myself as a story, and keep telling it until I’ve got it in a form I can live with.
In the case of my parents’ deaths, the story I came up with was that they had done their jobs. They had seen me through childhood to the brink of adulthood and set me on my way, and if it was a bit bewildering to suddenly find myself without them, it did not seem unreasonable, or even entirely unexpected. I’d known, going out into the world, things were going to be different.