I'm always trying to figure out how to describe what I write. I've come up with a few terms. I shall catalogue these attempts here. The most recent to-date is:
A combination of the Latin CRUFIXIO, which means "an ordeal, misery, etc." and the mixed etymology of FICTION, which developed from Latin roots into the Middle-English FICTIO, meaning "to invent, contrive, etc." CRUCIFICTION would therefore be something like THE WRITING OF IMAGINATIVE ORDEALS & MISERIES.
(LITERARY means it doesn't suck and is bound to be misinterpreted)
I like this phrase because it's pretty fucking accurate for what I do, and ordeals and miseries encompass a broad scope that can be expressed in limitless forms--realist, surrealist, speculative, epic, &c. Or at least it feels this way at the moment. Might have something to do with my recent tattoo (see shitty selfie to the right).
I've thought more about LITERARY CUCIFICTION and like it even more now. I just realized that playing off "Crucifixion" is especially adept at capturing writing that can be equal parts realism and fantastic; we know that it is historically accurate that many were literally crucified as a means of cruel and not unusual punishment/ execution throughout the ages.
At the same time, one cannot help but associate "Crucifixion" with THE Crucifixion of Christ on Golgotha-- Jesus Christ and his crucifixion being one of the most well-known fairy-tales / stories of mystery and imagination EVER.
(Get it? Like Magical Realists Gabriel Garcia Marquez & Clarice Lispector & Barbara Comyns & Borges & Italo Calvino, to give only a few examples, I include plenty of realism, but no matter how hard I try, my magic is horrific, accursed, uncanny, predatory, necromantic, risky, repulsive & metaphysically deadly).
"Erik T. Johnson is a master of weird fiction."
--Shane Douglas Keene,
This is Horror UK
The Autobiographies of Erik t. [sic] Johnson
If you keep an author autobiography short—which you should—it isn't much more interesting than an obituary in the local paper.
So I’m not going to write about myself.
I’m just going to write, like this:
There were trails in the woods then, like corridors in an immense fortress of trees. Where the twilight or moon sifted in, Kaspar watched particles mix, specks of billions-year-old-stuff—atoms of long-gone mountains, rock, lingering riverbreath, roots from trees grown on the other side of the world, and the dark, heavy-treaded scent of unidentifiable, branch-breaking echoes—these ancient grains of world waltzed and flocked with fresher bits of pine and root and the sub-tang of ever-now caravans of black insects, dank fern and deermusk, mixed together in such indistinguishable equality, it was like time didn’t exist.
AUTOBIOGRAPHY#3 (Consider Revising. Maybe too arty? I don't know, for some reason I like it. So I'll leave it. It's not like I'm forcing anyone to read it.)
As a child, I wanted to get behind things. I could get behind the couches and the trees, but never my parents, who had a habit of turning around, of facing. They loved me and showered me with affections. I loved them back. At least, I did exactly what they did to me, right back to them. This mimickry never did satisfy me. I could not get behind it. My whole life I have felt very uncomfortable with things in general.
I worked in publishing. At least, I think I did. There were many magazines, many books, all around me. I worked in a cubicle. I added up numbers all day, representing money and subscribers and . . . that is all. The numbers were so very far away from what they symbolized that they needed to be organized in
columns with detailed headings explaining what they meant. They were senseless as dreams. Nobody ever mentioned this. But I do not think it was considered too obvious.
When I was 32 I opened the door to my apartment and found myself in a house I had never entered before. This was after my parents, after the publishing job. A tall, bony man covered in dust from head to foot extended his waxy hand to me and asked me if I knew how to reach the kitchen. He said he was lost. I asked
him if he was a ghost. He startled, and disappeared. But he never did answer me. And I could not find the kitchen but I found this typewriter. I can't get it to stop working.
Ah, if only . . .