From the Mouth of the Madman
Iä Iä grandsons of Lavinia Whateley, your friend El Dumpstero, took a long (and undeserved) vacations to travel to the Cosmos’ confines, thus he hasn’t comply his duty by spreading the madnes of damned writers.
Fortunately, the black goat sent him back to earth with an intergalactic kick and the lucky one fell in California. Where, for his good fortune, he has meet with a cursed poet... But not any poet.... Nelly Geraldine García-Rosas, who is a mexican writer that has wandered through the darkest corners of earth disseminating insanity to whomever cross her way.
Her work, in spanish and english alike, have appeared in important compendiums such as Penumbria and Clarkesworld Magazine; anthologies like The Apex Book of World SF3 and Cthulhu’s Daughters, her works are published not only in America but also in Europe.
She combines horror with science fiction, but she’s not your typical sci-Fi fan. Nelly was about to get into Physics, but her love (or craziness) for the eerie made her chose Literature instead.
But let’s stop babbling and see what will come out... From the Mouth of the Madman. Ok... From the Mouth of the Madwoman.
Círculo Lovecraftiano & Horror: Nelly, it’s a pleasure for us to have a Mexican writer -speacially this month of the death- whose work we have discussed in our reading circle. Now that you’re far from the land where you were born, how do you see the evolution of the day of the death tradition from the american point of view?
Nelly Geraldine: I think that time and people who practices it enriches the tradition (and also transforms the way people see and understand the death). When you see it from “outside”, you appreciate the peculiarities and what makes it unique for you, your family, but you also realize the similarity with celebrations around the world. Sounds like a cliché, but the day of the death is one of those things that make us special and, at the same time, show us that we are a piece that completes the humanity ‘s collective.
It is also very interesting to see how mexican communities settled outside Mexico own the tradition and give it more syncretism layers and particular sense for each group.
CL&H: Our lovecraftian group usually abstains from classifying, but! in this case your literature is particularly hard to place in one genre. When you read your own work, where do you think this eclecticism comes from?
NG: I think is normal to write diverse and different texts. I think that artistic creation is intimately related with the way we consume art: imagine how boring it would be to read books or see movies or listen to music that are identical between them. Now that we have the advantage of easily access to tons of entertainment forms, I think the most natural thing is to diversify. Of course we can have a personal preference for themes or specific styles, and that inevitably permeates through the creation process. There are topics, motives, symbols, that appear constantly in my work and it’s what defines my voice, only sometimes it becomes dark fantasy and other times its science fiction.
CL&H: Your characters are mostly women, highlighting none of them are powerful in exaggeration; they’re regular women with jobs that go from a prehispanic priestess to an astronaut gardening grass on Mars, with scary situations in common. Is there a current feminist manifest in your stories? And, do you think we’re living a resurgence in literary feminism?
NG: I’m a woman who writes about female/fem characters, I dont know if there’s a “manifest” in that. Like I said in another question, part of what we like, of what we are, what we read, permeates what we write. I am feminist and perhaps you can read some of that in my stories because they show worlds where women are active beings with flaws and desires; but my tales by themselves don’t have gender inequity, racial, economic or reproductive topics.
I don’t think there’s a resurgence in feminist topics literary speaking, because they never left. Women who openly write about feminism have always been there though sistematically invisible. I’m glad we live in a time when the critic is turning around to see them.
CL&H: Lovecraft has Arkham, King has Derry… Could we talk about a Geraldinian Country? I think it would be Mexico City’s subway.
NG: I’ll say this from a position of privilege where I never had to use the subway in Mexico City on regular basis. I’ve never lived at Mexico City, but I’m from Toluca [Toluca is very close], so visiting is always normal. Since I was a kid, the subway has been terrifying and fascinating to me, something like the sublime defined by Edmund Burke. The subway is a place (or places junction) that by itself is an ideal set for the fantastic.
Back to your question, I don’t want to say that there’s a node location where the little I’ve published emerges.
CL&H: Your prose has a odd style, from grammar to spelling composition. Stories that end as poems, lists that end as tales... POEMS WROTE IN RUBY PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE??? What is your goal in this way of telling stories? Obviously you make your readers think about the tale individually.
NG: I like to play with the format when I write because I think that the way you tell the story is also part of what I want to say and because there are texts that need certain structure to be effective.
CL&H: Among the characters from prehispanic mithology that you use, one of the most powerful is Coyolxauhqui, who was dismember by her brother when she was going to kill their mother because she got pregnant “in dishonor”. Though that myth gave us the moon, is a bittersweet kind of myth, the anger of the children against their mother. What effect does this deity has on you?
NG: I remember I wrote a poem about the Coyolxauhqui because I accidentally stumbled with some photographs of the monolith excavation that I haven’t seen before and, somehow, I thought this myth of her becoming the Moon had sensorial parallelisms with the process of discovering and digging it out. Have you seen the monolith at the Museo del Templo Mayor? Is imposing. Induces you to imagine how they thought of her from the mexica cosmology, but you can’t avoid looking at her from a personal perspective.
Many mexica’s deities are fascinating because they are in a grey area of morality as we understand it from our place in the XXI century. It is a delight to play/create with that idea as inspiration.
CL&H: From Physics to Literature, how that decision has impacted your life? Do you ever regret not to follow the path of science in full time?
NG: Like everybody I ask myself how would it be to have taken other decisions at check-points in life, but I feel that when you already did, you have to take advantage and learn from it. And if there’s doubt or regret -here comes again the privilege- try to reconcile what we are with what we wanted to be. I’m not a physicist, but I can write things related to Physics, for example.
CL&H: From your stories, my favorite is “Ex-voto”. Because of its costumbrista, realistic and pesimistic enviroment (you can read it here http://www.thejmlr.com/ex-voto-english/). My favorite scene is when the blind baby Jesus’ cherubs fall to his feet devouring chunks of meat... it’s so cinematic that it gives me nausea and horror. Have you thought of getting into the script world to make a movie or maybe a graphic novel?
NG: Actually not. I respect and admire a lot the scriptwriter job and those who write comics because I think they have great dialogue and visual narrative skills that I don’t.
CL&H: Online you have been compared to Poppy Z. Brite because of the homoerotic tones. For example, in “Phantasm” (where Alicia tries to connect with Rizzu through a VR game), Elisa in “Lemniscata”, or the oniric “Where water joins” in which the narrator follows enthrally Adriana (a creature with butterfly wings) through the Tacubaya subway station. what’s your stand about the mention of sexuality in modern Sci-Fi?
NG: Hahaha. Who said that? I don’t write erotism. That a tale has characters in romantic relationships or in love/obssesed with other characters of the same gender, doesn’t make it a homoerotic tale. There’s a nostalgic idea about desire and love in how some of my characters imagine other characters, but there’s no erotism because I’m bad at writing it.
The modern Sci-Fi is doing a good work in showing the whole spectrum of human sexuality (including asexuality). We writers have the responsability to make literature’s posible worlds represent all humanity. Sci-Fi full of heterosexual white men is completely incredible.
CL&H: You often create a syncretism between Lovecraft bestiary and mesoamerican gods. Which one is your favorite god from Lovecraft’s myths and with which deities you compare them?
NG: My favorites aren’t the gods, I like more the generic monsters. I love the shoggoths because they have malleable bodies with no specific forms. Its unsettling and also so out of place that these purulent giant masses say “tekeli-li” and have tiny eyes that grow like bubbles making pop. They have everything.
I can’t think to which prehispanic creature compare them. I will leave that as an extra activity for your readers to get out of this predicament.
CL&H: What is somenthing that really freaks Nelly Geraldine out? Tell us something that has truly scared you in life.
NG: I don’t know. I try to be very racional with certain things, though usually I’m pessimistic. Maybe my fears are small and understandable because sometimes I expect the worse.
CL&H: Many of the writers we interview give us a short story about our Lovecraftian group or whatever comes into their minds at the moment. Will you honor us with a tale for this humble circle?
If you know RUBY programming language, you can run this tale. Sorry is in spanish.. . we're not good at programming.
CL&H: Any final words for your readers at Círculo Lovecraftiano&Horror?
NG: Thanks a lot for the time you have put into reading and discussing my work. I think this is the part where I do shameless propaganda, but I don’t have anything new to show off, only the reprint of “Where Water Joins” recently published at Clarkesworld Year Eleven: Volume One http://neil-clarke.com/books/clarkesworld-anthologies/clarkesworld-year-eleven-volume-one/.
Stay weird and see you in Kadath.
It was an honour to have had the opportunity to interview the first mexican female writer to come across these sacrilegious pages. You can read more of her fiction here: https://es.nellygeraldine.com/p/publicaciones.html though be careful, you can end up entangled in one of her literary lemniscatas of horror, death and madness. And don’t miss the next chapter of... From the Mouth of the Madman!!!