Another BC author, Rhea Rose’s story “The Wall” graces the pages of Tesseracts 17. It is a disturbing tale of love, obsession and loss.
CA: Rhea, your story “The Wall” is a classic descent-into-madness story, or is it?
I think you can definitely describe this story as a classic descent-into-madness tale. It’s also a horror story. When I wrote it I was playing with both those aspects of storytelling, madness and horror. I asked myself, “Is she crazy” or “Is this really happening?” I decided at some point that the “Wall” needed to be more concrete, more of a real creature rather than an imagining on the part of the main character. At that point, when I made the wall more of a creepy little character, was when the story turned from a one-dimensional descent- into- madness story to a more multidimensional horror tale, as well.
CA: The disturbing imagery both draws the reader in and repulses at the same time. What made you explore such a strange world, and have you ever seen the Wall?
Nope. I’ve never seen the Wall, and I hope I never do, except perhaps in the movie version! When I’m trying to write something scary, I ask myself what are the things that disturb me, and when I figure out what those are, I try to put at least three of them into a story. In this case I wanted to play with the fear of being a mother, the pressures of being responsible for a baby, combined with a fear – the Wall – of something you can’t get rid of, or control.
CA: What do you think it is about madness that fascinates people?
Hmm, madness goes hand in hand with creativity and a connection with genius, so madness can be the negative extreme of both those conditions. The mad scientist is a genius with wondrous creations that are also destructive. The mad woman may have moments of lucidity when wisdom issues forth, losing control of paradigm is terrifying and exhilarating, a kind of madness. Of course real madness, as in the case of diagnosed schizophrenia is just plain terrifying.
CA: Have you dealt with this theme in other pieces of your work?
Only in a meta sense. Descent into story writing is a form of controlled madness, but I can’t think of another story I’ve written that deals with any form of “crazy.” It’s a difficult place to live in even for a short time, which is what you have to do when you’re writing the story. Generally, my characters are trying to deal with the madness that others have foisted on them.
CA: Many of your stories have involved children from their POV. In this case, the child is both peripheral and integral to this piece. Are you done exploring tales which put children into strange dilemmas?
I doubt I am done with children in strange dilemmas, as you say. That seems to be my psyche’s theme, but I do consciously work to move away from those stories, although if a really good one pops into my head I won’t hesitate to write it down. I find children’s responses to the world both fascinating and frightening. It’s such a scary ordeal to have to figure out how the world works when you can’t yet read the instructions.
Rhea is a Vancouver, BC writer and a teacher. She’s a graduate of UBC’s Creative Writing program and a Clarion writer. Most of her work has been published north of the 49th parallel. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in the Tesseracts anthologies. Many of her pieces have been nominated for awards, including the Rhysling award for poetry, and a nomination for an Aurora award. There were a couple of preliminary nominations for Nebula award nominations. A short story of hers appeared in a David Hartwell’s, Christmas Forever anthology. TaleBones has published a short story and poem. Rhea’s Big Foot story (not her foot) was published in NorthWest Passages: A Cascadian Anthology, and a horror tale made it into Tesseracts 10 from EDGE Press, which received honorable mention in BHOTY, as did her latest story in the first Evolve anthology. Look for her most recent poetry at Chizine. http://www.chizine.com/authors/davidclink. All of these stories and many of her poems can be found in her collection, Pandora’s Progeny, at Amazon. Her latest works appear in Masked Mosaic, Dead North and Tesseracts 17.