[Women in Genre, Day 17] Tammy Moore and Painting with Words
The stories I have shared so far touch upon lessons learned thanks to the women in genre or the strength I have gained through the friendship and talent of these women. You can say continuity has an established role in my life, though not every encounter with a brilliant talent grows into a relationship. Its beauty lies within its brief brilliance (can I get bonus points for alliteration?) and such is the case with Tammy Moore, better (if) known as T.A. Moore.
Spoken as a true hipster, I’m sure you’ve probably never heard of her, because she is accounted for several short stories and a single novel – “The Even“. I’m going to be talking about “The Even”, which I still remember fondly even though I read it first in 2009. The book is a textbook example of obscure literature as it came out from a small press (the excellent Morrigan Books) and had a short run with not a lot of buzz generated. T.A. Moore is not Karin Tidbeck, whose first English collection was technically published by a small press, but made a huge international splash.
I consider “The Even” to be one of the most beautiful books I have laid eyes on. Aesthetics matter to me and as shallow as it may sound, to see one of my favorite fantasy artists (Stephanie Law) provide cover and internal illustrations for the novel made me further fall in love with The Even, which turned out to be as beautiful and delicate in its writing. Yes, I did enjoy it for the story, but form and presentation greatly influence how I experience a work. In my 2009 review, I say the following:
“The Even” combines the qualities that I desperately seek in novels and in my own writing, which are poetic brevity, haunting beauty, a gothic underworld and a brew of known myths and legends, mutating into a creeping Tim-Burton-esque creation with a life of its own. Needless to say that reading this short novel of 162 pages is an otherworldly experience, which submerges you into a murky fluxing landscape of silent hysteria and grotesque beauty, drenched in wilted aesthetic. The author’s ability draw you into the captivating city of damnation that is the Even, filled with remnants of past, present and future with a mind of their own as well as demons and gods shunned away by fickle human beliefs, is enhanced tenfold through the ethereal and evocative illustrations provided by artist Stephanie Pui Mun Law.
Tammy Moore is now a ghost – her website domain is up for grabs, her Twitter account has not seen any new updates in a while and her LiveJournal lies abandoned since 2011. T.A. Moore has pulled a vanishing act, which makes “The Even” all the more exciting and powerful, because I feel this has been it. This is as much as I will get to see from an author I consider highly talented and I relish at the thought I have had this special moment – this deep connection with a writer’s work I consider superior to most commercial books out there.
I guess I’m really a hipster, but nevertheless, here’s to Tammy Moore, the woman who included me into a rare and wonderful world not many will see. It’s hard not to feel privileged.