I only have one true literary inspiration. That is Clive Barker. I hungrily devoured his imaginative fiction with a ravenous appetite, and my understanding of how prose and poetry could be amalgamated began to take shape. I was stunned at his use of language, often writing down words that I had never seen written, nor heard spoken in my head as I read. Discovering their meaning, then looking back at where they were in the narrative of the story, I was in awe at how they transported me deeper into the realms of his imagination. A gift.
I yearned to be able to dance in the descriptive verse that lifted off the pages of his work, often closing the book after reading a passage that unravelled in my imagination in a tapestry of colours and images, unfurling in its vibrancy as I was transported into its ghastly beauty. When I read The Books of Blood I was moved to remember the mad scribblings after my possession in Dunedin. The voice of that young man was tainted by a visceral need to find catharsis after his experience, and the remnants of his temporary occupant’s loathing. After dusting off the textbooks and reading the stories I realised that they were written in a language that only adepts like Mr. Barker could understand. I needed to translate them into a language that many more could fathom. My work had begun in earnest.
Sacrament, Imajica, Weaveworld, The Great and Secret Show, Everville each of these novels were revelations for me. I ventured into the realms where my lost childhood dreams and nightmares congealed into a myriad of characters, narratives, and most importantly for me, I lived these tales as I read them. Infused with such wonders and horrors I dared believe I could too be an imaginist and follow in his pen strokes.
Nine books later (and a tenth being written) I forge on. Whenever I begin to feel the magnetic draw of the macabre I hear Lord Buford Somerset dictate in his burdened baritone, whenever my heart lights up in wonder Pablo Wairua sings with every literary beat, and when both the wonder and the horror come together in a frolicking swirl, Harmon Sueno is composing. If not for Clive Barker their voices would not be heard.