I read the new Sirenia Digest this morning and thought it was some really beautiful writing. The excerpt from Caitlin's upcoming novel, The Red Tree, was a nice mix of Lovecraft and apparent autobiography. It reminded me of an excerpt, in an earlier Sirenia Digest, from another of Caitlin's novels in progress, Joey LaFaye, in that it seems extremely close to Caitlin's blog in terms of voice and opinions of the narrator. But the autobiographical elements are taken even further with more specific details of Caitlin's life. Given the false starts on other, less autobiographical novels, it seems Caitlin's trying to tap artistic fire by bringing greater literal intimacy to the prose. I haven't noticed any consistent discrepancy in quality between those stories of hers that seem to include many, easily identifiable elements from the author's life and those that don't. But I hope this is doing for her what she wants it to.
The new story, "Untitled 33", is an extremely beautiful layering of dream images inspired partly by Ovid's Metamorphosis, partly by an illustration by Vince Locke, and partly, I would guess, by Caitlin's infatuation with Sonya Taaffe. Caitlin had posted the Locke illustration in her blog a little while ago, and I must say I was underwhelmed, as I usually am by Locke's illustrations for the digest, but Caitlin seems to've made love with it for the story, and her description of the odd object which two women seem to be using as a sexual toy in the image was sensuous enough that I actually appreciated the illustration a little more. I still couldn't connect the expressionless faces of the people in the picture with the characters in the story, though.
But I found the story striking for another reason that Caitlin didn't intend in that much of the imagery described and concepts played with actually strongly reminded me of some things in Chapter 9 of Venia's Travels. I'd almost be tempted to change it a little if the fact that I'm so behind made that impossible. Hopefully no-one thinks I can't come up with my own ideas, though, if they do, they'll have also to think I can write, draw, and colour an eight page chapter in two days. I wish.
I suppose it could all be in my imagination, anyway.