Friday, May 25, 2012

Rhys Hughes is the embodiment of everything I wish I were as a writer and also totally makes me LOL

I don't know what I can say in this post that will not have been captured rather more effectively in the title of it, but for the sake of good form (this isn't a Tumblog, for God's sake), I will make a valiant attempt.

Rhys Hughes is in his own words "a writer of Fantasy and Magic Realism who often uses comedy and absurdism to examine philosophical issues," and, although I don't actually know how to pronounce his first name, he at this point must be one of my favourite authors. He is so because, as a reader, I find him genuinely hilarious, and, as a writer, I find his attitude incredibly inspiring. Let us examine these propositions in full or whatever.

Hilarity: I routinely laugh out loud when I read Rhys's blog--let alone his fiction. (Sidebar: Somehow I feel like, despite being unable to produce the word vocally, I can call him Rhys; or at least that I ought not to call him Hughes, which sounds kind of prickish.) When I say Rhys makes me LOL, I really mean it. I'm not someone who takes the abbreviation LOL--let alone ROFL or LMAO--lightly. If I'm chatting with friends on Facebook or Skype and I wish to indicate that they have been droll, I will type "hahaha." But this actually indicates that they're not really being all that funny; it's a polite laugh. Rhys Hughes, though... man, that guy is funny. That dude totally makes me LOL. Take, for example, the phrase, "A doomed assault (like pecking at a granite mountain with a beak made of cheese)." I've been chuckling about that ditty for minutes. Entire minutes without cease.

'Tude: There are very close to zero people in the world to whom I think in word and deed I would like to be more comparable. Most people are jerks, or lame, or are too successful to earn wages of anything but spite and malice from my emotional dispensary. But Rhys Hughes, man... I feel like he is the most genuine person in the world, that his writing projects are genuinely undertaken for fun--for the sake of themselves, but at the same time not involved with themselves in a way that self-idolizes. Self-satisfaction and self-importance are really easy vices for artists, and it's just beautiful to observe someone who doesn't seem to have these traits at all. (I have them in spades, and can only overcome them with forceful, repugnant irony. [See? SEE?])

So that's why I like Rhys Hughes. What's especially cool, I think, is that I like Rhys Hughes so much that I am willing to forgive him his faults. That sounds totally weird, I know--I'm not his wife or something--but if you know me, you know that if I hit a rough patch in someone's writing, BANG, I throw it out the window. I do this literally all the time; just yesterday I sighed and turned off my Kobo, upon/within which I was reading a recent issue of the magazine Lightspeed, because it was formulaic and full of infodumping. And before that, I stopped reading Téa Obreht's "The Tiger's Wife," which I had received an impression of being all the rage, because the narration was so totally convoluted. There's going to be a serious cooldown period before I can give John Joseph Adams' editing or Téa Obreht's writing another shot. But when I'm reading one of Rhys's story collections and hit upon a tale that is less than LOL-worthy, I politely say, "hahaha," and then continue reading, because I know it's worth it and I will soon LMFAO.

So, yeah. Rhys Hughes! I am at present really, really excited to acquire his forthcoming Lamblake Heinz collection. And then I shall read it. You should, too! Look: you can even read one of the stories for free! AND YES IT TOTALLY MADE ME LOL!

-bn