A Month of Writers, Day Six: Jeff VanderMeer

Jeff VanderMeer is a guy who does weird well, which sounds like he spends most of his time skulking and muttering, but that’s not what I mean (I know Jeff personally; I’ve yet to see him skulk, and he mutters no more than the average person). What I mean he builds worlds that are strange but compelling; when you visit his fictional city of Ambergris, as you will in Shriek: An Afterword, in the first hour you’ll be going “what the hell?” and then in the second and subsequent hours you’ll be hoping that you won’t actually ever have to leave. See, that’s doing weird well.

But Jeff knows a secret, which is that every day life can be weirder — and far less comprehensible — than any fiction. To make this point, please enjoy the following video presentation, in which Jeff tells a story involving his step-daughter, a corporate mascot, touch-sensitive Britons, testicles, and Jeff walking into a room with an incriminating substance on his hands. This all happened.

(The original entry, with comments, is here. Also, visit the Web site of Shriek: An Afterword, all kinds of audio, video, and text, here.)

9 Comments on “A Month of Writers, Day Six: Jeff VanderMeer”

  1. Pretty good story, but I think it loses something when we don’t get to experience his emotions during the explanation to his wife. :-)

  2. And I always want the people at the office to go to Chuckie Cheese for birthday lunches. Guess I’ll have to rethink that.

  3. Scalzi, this time your site wanted to say I am “Karl” who has a .ca website with his full name. I am properly bemused.

    Being as I happen to share the same town with Mr. VanderMeer, I wonder why he didn’t take advantage of the indoor laser tag, video games, and rollercoaster the miniature golf place has. There’s also bumper boats. The Chuckie Cheese, while it IS across the street, has been there for at least 15 years and is as seedy as that implies.

    Tally’s never been the same since we lost the Discovery Zone.

  4. @6, 7: Refused to work here, period. Until I went to JVdM original story link, then all was fine. Anyone know whether U2be filters on referrals?

    @7: Jim, I dismissed the giant rat as a figment of drink, as it had no context until after I had heard the C_Cheese saga. Then I blew drink all over the rat (and alas, the screen). So I set him on fire…
    Thank you, John and Jeff. Do either of you perchance know how to remove scorched rodent from carpet?

  5. Oh lord. That was fuuuuuunny. Yeah, my wife didn’t like my teaching my then 3 year old daughter to chant “Pizza Rat! Pizza Rat!” I thought it was the least I was owed for taking her there. I also have friends who have explained to their children that C.E.C. is only for birthdays and they won’t let you in otherwise . . . in the subcategory of “lies parents tell to make their lives easier” I kinda like that one.