9 thoughts on “The Red Tree – Caitlín R. Kiernan

  1. AE28857E-AC26-4C61-B194-B436E618B7A3Thomas Millie Dow’s ‘The Kelpie’

    Editor’s Preface
    Chapter One
    7 May 2008

    “Joke’s on you.”

    Read this so far as above. Captivated to carry on? Defiantly yes. I am there. Believing in myself. You must already know what happens? F79D95B2-8A29-42F0-948D-C245A308A8E9The Editor (worked with her when she was alive) and now recipient of Sarah Crowe’s posthumous dated journal manuscript and ‘today’ the Editor knows her again through Sarah’s originally pencilled words, Sarah Crowe writer of novels and short stories, erstwhile lover of Amanda (not real name), and her vision, her act of DOWsing, when 14, the naked sinking girl… I know you know all this. But the Editor told me of Sarah’s obsessive red tree (enormous red oak) and what was found today ‘legend-tripping’ at its roots. Not a rafter of turkeys. Not kudzu. But Red Rose Tea figurines. The photograph to the right is the latest image of my own obsessive tree, obsessive for a few years now. A willow, I think. Certainly not red. I have long publicly called it the Yieldingtree.

  2. 9 – 14 May 2008

    “Always, I digress. I may have mentioned that already.”

    Firstly a dream, one with muttering men and women. This is now already flowing this evening like the finest feisty sporadically Crowe-cussing prose and dialogue syrup; I couldn’t put it down, in the same way that the author could not put her own pen down (replacing the yellow pencil) (to the no doubt satisfaction of her literary agent) as she tells us of her first witty-conversant, sporadically lying, eventually raunchy meeting with Amanda two years ago, amid the latter’s positively crazy photomontage in her flat. I am getting to know this person real good and her current circumstances, and I am loving it all. I had no idea that I would. Her tense change, notwithstanding.

    June 25/26, 2008

    “, young boys biting into shiny red apples only to discover globules of blood at the cores.”

    Although completely different esprits de coeur, I am reminded of my rite of passage and real-time reviews about a year ago (?) of the novel and novellas of T.E.D. Klein. But comparisons can be misleading. This character of Sarah is misleading already, delightfully so. She seeks the onionskin manuscript, after discovering its author’s still working typewriter, and to get beyond a superstitiously guarded arch of the clammy basement in this Wight house back beyond, learns about suicide of that manuscript’s writer, hung in our tree, does not blame the landlord. And evokes the word “fakelore” before Trump thought of Fake News. I don’t need to tell YOU of all people all the details as I go through. In fact, you could help ME negotiate the twist and turns and Fortean byways, and arcane discoveries. She uses the typewriter now instead of the pencil and the pen, and is now expecting an unwelcome attic co-tenant that the landlord’s lease allows. And we learn more about Amanda. Do I dare issue a spoiler? She is dead? Well, you knew that already and even if you didn’t, it won’t spoil your enjoyment. The maw of the Morewell Tunnel, notwithstanding. Digression on my part.

    “No one we knew ever believed there was anything between us but the sex and some virulent allure, my dirty dishwater circling the drain of you.”

  4. June 28 – July 2, 2008

    “Oh, sure, it’s grim stuff I no doubt shouldn’t be reading, out here with only the woods and the deer and my fits for company, but if I pretend it’s only fiction,…”

    This is getting even better and better. Why have I not properly read this author before? Although, her Sarah persona is not very kind to reviewers, including their attitude towards her ever-generous supply of ‘dream sequences’. But I am beginning to know her as a real person through her own sharp print on rough paper and her faded smudged old-fashioned typewriter-ribbon typescripts or transcripts, whatever, of the onionskin, and her now presumable dream relationship with her dear lover Amanda, both equally feisty to each other, as well as to me the conscientious reader. And her description on approaching the red tree (note the description here of its roots!) which she had not really noticed other than it being, as I would call it, hidden in plain sight. Meanwhile, I can’t wait to meet the yet unknown attic tenant to whom she has been (ha! ha!) given, by the landlord, the job of ‘Welcome Wagon’. Cheek!

    “This is New England, and you can’t swing a dead cat without smacking a ghost or a haint or whatever.”

    July 4, 2008

    “; it was something to say, words to fill in empty space, misdirection, and the only thing I could think of.”

    In the context, I somehow sense that there can be little else in literature to match this first meeting between Sarah Crowe and Constance Hopkins.

  6. July 4, 2008, (second half of that day)

    “…(it would be too kind to call this writing ‘non-linear’).”

    I strained my own eyes, too,reading Sarah’s typed transcript of the Harvey onionskin about the Red Tree on the old type writer, but it is intriguing with a reference, not only to works by HPL and by Karl E Wagner who once wrote he met me on the Mall for anchovies on pizza, but also to Baring-Gould who lived near where I live now and I think he had something to do with the hymn Onward Christian Soldiers… The text also mentions “a large willow tree”…
    Sarah tells us meanwhile of how the style of this text reminded her of that of Charles Fort… and she starts to get to know Constance slightly better…

  7. July 5, 2008

    “the unanswered question.”

    Fascinating and consuming. Constance tells Sarah of some retrocausal argument for ghosts with evidence of her own experience of a sort of French Lieutenant’s Woman vision in mutuality of creation on the Forty Steps, one more step in the ‘quantum foam’ than Buchan’s. Also a reference to the thin spots in Jung’s collective unconscious which might also explain the thin spots between each of my gestalt real-time book reviews?
    I can’t wait for the two of them to get it off, as they plan for a less hot day to have their Picnic at Hanging Tree…

    “Constance made an exasperated sound, and somehow managed to roll her eyes without opening them.”

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