Are you writing like a person whose pen keeps the world alive?

Tue 24 Nov 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

The question above comes from the pen of Mary Rickert, who unquestionably is keeping the world alive with her words. We’re publishing a new collection of stories by Mary today You Have Never Been Here and in writing this post I am frustrated that I have to put words in front of you at all as all of Mary’s are better and more worth your time.

“Gothic literature, diluted, over time, into its architecture of moors and castles, is actually an exploration of the human experience as cohesion of the beast and the divine.”

“I try to remember that in every culture, in every age, there were things believed as universally true that later were proven false. We are all victims of the illusion of our time. I try to look beyond the veil, and I’m sure I fail. I try to remember the veil exists.”

— from “Process as Photosynthesis” An Interview with Mary Rickert by Annie Bilancini on SmokeLong Quarterly.

You can also read Mary’s letter to a young writer on the Story Prize blog:

Dear Young Writer,
I know many people have told you to make the language invisible, but what if they are wrong? Consider the possibility that words are not mere instruments of description but tools of alchemy.

Of course you can read some of her stories online: World Fantasy Award winner “Journey into the Kingdom.”
The Mothers of Voorhisville.” “You Have Never Been Here.”

This is Mary’s fourth book after publishing two collections and an amazing novel last year, The Memory Garden. Of herself she writes:

“Mary Rickert grew up in Wisconsin but moved to California as soon as she was eighteen. She still has fond memories of selling balloons at Disneyland and learning to boogie board in the ocean. Sometimes she would go to the beach early in the morning, before any one else was there, sit in the lifeguard’s tower and write poetry. After many years (and through the sort of “odd series of events” that describe much of her fiction) she got a job as a kindergarten teacher in a small private school for gifted children. She worked there for almost a decade before leaving to pursue her life as a writer. Her first novel, The Memory Garden was published in 2015. There are, of course, mysterious gaps in this account of her life and that is where the truly interesting stuff happened.”

I have no idea what went on in those mysterious gaps. I know she sold her first painting before her first story. I know that her stories have won awards. I know that when Mary writes a story I have no idea where it will go. I have no idea what the spaces will be. What the rhythms, the rhymes will be. I know I’ll have to get off this treadmill. Push aside the idea that I’ll get stuff done. Push aside the world as I know it. Step into the world as Mary sees it.


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