LC: What would you say are the core underpinning themes and ideas in your work?
MC: The horror of consciousness, and more specifically, self-awareness. Intimations or suspicions of something fundamentally grotesque and nightmarish at the core of existence itself. The inescapable sense of being drawn to find a metanarrative, a pattern, a God’ s-eye view and understanding of one’s experience and the world at large, and then of being horrified at the revelation that this overall pattern and meaning are actually hideous and unbearable. That life isn’t meaningless, it’s meaningful – and the meaning is awful. The fear that God by whatever name, under whatever cultural guise, may be monstrous. The sense not only of horror but of unbearable loss, grief, and despair that accompanies such a sense of things. The related fear or possibility that artistic and intellectual creativity carry profound dangers because they serve as portals to and for that nightmarish primal ontological reality to communicate itself and corrupt or destroy the artist.
I might pause to add that in my actual everyday existence I’m a living embodiment of Flaubert’s famous advice to “be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
When I started writing this book, I vowed to keep my madness out of it.
—Nicole Cushing, A Sick Gray Laugh
Nicole Cushing is the Bram Stoker Award® winning author of Mr. Suicide and a two-time nominee for the Shirley Jackson Award.
Various reviewers have described her work as “brutal”, “cerebral”, “transgressive”, “taboo”, “groundbreaking” and “mind-bending”.
Rue Morgue magazine recently included Nicole in its list of 13 Wicked Women to Watch, praising her as an “an intense and uncompromising literary voice”. She has also garnered praise from Jack Ketchum, Thomas Ligotti, and Poppy Z. Brite (aka, Billy Martin).
I just started reading Nicole’s latest work and am delighted to say it is well worth the praise it’s garnering so far… I’ll update with a review later this week, but for now you should check out her blog Litggressive for more information about Nicole Cushing and her fabulous work.
“Thomas Ligotti is an absolute master of supernatural horror and weird fiction, and a true original. He pursues his unique vision with admirable honesty and rigorousness and conveys it in prose as powerfully evocative as any writer in the field. I’d say he might just be a genius.” ~ Ramsey Campbell