Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Irezumi


I find something both revolting and compelling about bodies covered in tattoos. Maybe that is what is at the basis of this story about a sailor and his visit to a Japanese tattoo parlour.

As with Piroska, this story possibly came about as I went through various association with the sea - and sailors and their tattoos came naturally to mind. Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man may have drifted by in my imagination, but I'm not sure.

I think two things were at work as I wrote Irezumi: the idea of a living tattoo that could move on the body, and the fun of misdirecting the reader. The horror reader has been trained to expect twists and stings in the tail, of course: they know that you are taking them into a dark room to shout 'Boo!'

But a writer can play with that expectation. . .

4 comments:

  1. I've been thinking about tattoos myself recently too Chris, not getting one you understand, but flower and plant/botanical tattoos. I also find them compelling and revolting at the same time.

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  2. I'm a bit disappointed that you're not actually going to get a rose tattooed across your chest Peter.

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  3. I could have chosen any of these excellent "author's notes" on which to comment, but I think it's fitting that I do so for this, one of my favourites.

    "The horror reader has been trained to expect twists and stings in the tail, of course: they know that you are taking them into a dark room to shout 'Boo!'"

    That's actually what I enjoy so much about the "Tales of Terror" stories; it's great being put in that dark room and bracing yourself for the inevitable boo - especially when you can't be sure from where in the room it's going to come!

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  4. Thanks diminutive Mike. I've just come back from Amsterdam and did a whole round of interviews talking about the tales of terror stories, which have all been published there. I was talking a lot about this - about creating the atmosphere and location and situation (the dark room) in which the 'Boo!' is shouted. And often it is less of a 'Boo!' in my case, than a whisper. But in a dark room, a whisper can be just as scary!

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