I think I’m far enough along now to look back with a smidgen of hindsight at what type of writer I am and will be in the foreseeable future. I spend a good bit of my work fixated on the mundanely, beautifully human while the horrific pushes into its bubble from the outside. My story “Dancers” perhaps exemplifies this most succinctly, to provide an example, though it’s certainly an ongoing passion of mine. Of all the kind things said about my collection Greener Pastures, I think Richard Gavin perhaps put his finger most squarely on its pulse when he wrote, “[Wehunt’s] fiction is a delicate wedding of Raymond Carver-style humanism and the authentically nightmarish.” I’m not one of Carver’s most avid acolytes, and I know very little of the Iowa way of doing things, but I do find that I feel along the same seams. Just, you know, with monster stuff sewn in.
The more horror–and particularly weird fiction–I read, the more I realize how many entire corners I’ve hardly swept over. Many don’t appeal to me much, but others are fascinating areas of exploration with formidable bibliographies. I realize I’m the sort of author whose work will be informed by many things rather than immersed in them, rather like minoring in a dozen subjects in college instead of majoring in one. I definitely embrace this, but it’s bittersweet (and a quite interesting topic in regards to audience, which is best left for another discussion).
Here are some specific concentrations of weird/cosmic/horror fiction I might never get around to exploring as much as I’d love to in my work because time isn’t a flat circle. These can be used as oils and water in many strange mixtures, but I list them here as primary concerns and modes of storytelling that exist more for themselves and less for a more “literary” (quotation marks emphasized) scrutiny of our ordinary human hearts.
- Deep occult/black magic
- Arcane philosophy
Have I carved myself into a niche? Have others with their own niches? I’m not sure, though I think one’s nook is more than roomy enough, and I love it here in my own dark. Some of these “concentrations” I just don’t have quite enough interest in as a writer to take significant time away from other areas, though I find them very interesting, celebrate them, and often enjoy reading them. Some will spend time on the periphery, though, and I look forward to seeing what continues to press against that human membrane in interesting new ways. Time will tell if I find time. I might prove myself wrong one day on a couple of them, which would be lovely.
In the end, the important thing is that at any given point, an author is writing whatever they’re most passionate about and letting the necessary flavors infect it. I simply know that I must have a beating heart.