There’s still a little bit left of Women in Horror month (we get an extra day this year!), but it looks like my little project will be extending into the beginning of March which is fine because, well, I am pretty much a woman in horror every day of the year.
I should clarify what I’m doing here: I’m trying to write about the women who inspired and influenced me early on, so I’m not really looking at contemporary work. The 1990s with Kathe Koja is as right-now as we’re going to get. In fact, I shall be writing about quite a few dead women.
But not right away. First I want to tell you about Lisa Tuttle. I first ran across her short story collection A Nest of Nightmares at the University of Georgia library when I was a student there. (They had a really terrific horror collection back in the day; it’s where I first encountered Karl Edward Wagner’s best of the year anthologies, among others.) I think Lisa Tuttle was the first contemporary female writer of horror fiction I really identified with. She was a Texan–a Southerner, like me (I know people say Texas is its own country, but much of it still feels like the South); the young women and girls in her stories were people I understood. They were like me. These stories seemed like the kind of stories I wanted to write someday.
A Nest of Nightmares is hard to find these days, and it’s no longer part of the collection at UGA (it’s one of the first things I looked for there when I moved back to town); it’s been so long since I read the stories that I can’t talk about them with any specificity, but I remember bits of pieces of them, and they got down deep inside me and stayed there and fortunately Ash Tree Press has released their first volume of her short stories, which I am very much hoping they will turn into an e-book, not because I don’t want to eventually own the physical book itself, but because in the meantime, when $49 is more than I can spend on a book, I could still return to those stories. I still remember how strange and off-kilter they made me feel and yet how they also made me feel in some secret way like I belonged with them, like she’d been writing them just for me.