From Years Ago – Edward Gauvin’s Weird Questionnaire

1 – Write the first sentence of a novel, short story, or book of the weird yet to be written.

The curtain was pinned over a blank stretch of wall.

2 – Without looking at your watch: what time is it?

9-ish.

3 – Look at your watch. What time is it?

9-ish.

4 – How do you explain this — or these — discrepancy(ies) in time?

It’s always something-ish.

5 – Do you believe in meteorological predictions?

No.

6 – Do you believe in astrological predictions?

No.

7 – Do you gaze at the sky and stars by night?

When I can.

8 – What do you think of the sky and stars by night?

I tend to look at them when I’m trying not to think of anything.

9 – What were you looking at before starting this questionnaire?

Football.

10 – What do cathedrals, churches, mosques, shrines, synagogues, and other religious monuments inspire in you?

Inspire? Boredom. A wish to be out in the mud. Slight hunger.

11 – What would you have “seen” had you been blind?

An invisible hand shifting paint across a canvas.

12 – What would you want to see if you were blind?

something surprising.

13 – Are you afraid?

I experience a vague feeling of doom most of the time.

14 – What of?

I wish I knew.

15 – What is the last weird film you’ve seen?

A documentary about fly-fishing, from the eighties.

16 – Whom are you afraid of?

Anyone who sits directly across from me on the tube.

17 – Have you ever been lost?

I genuinely got lost in the woods a few years ago.

18 – Do you believe in ghosts?

No.

19 – What is a ghost?

The thing that keeps peeking round the door.

20 – At this very moment, what sound(s) can you hear, apart from the computer?

Footsteps. The shower. Someone must be running the tap downstairs because the water pressure has gone to shit.

21 – What is the most terrifying sound you’ve ever heard – for example, “the night was like the cry of a wolf”?

Earlier today I heard someone turn the kettle off just before the water came to a boil.

22 – Have you done something weird today or in the last few days?

Don’t think so. Weird things have happened around me though.

25 –Without cheating: what is a “cabinet of curiosities”?

My nan had one. It was empty.

26 –Do you believe in redemption?

Pass.

27 – Have you dreamed tonight?

Yes.

28 – Do you remember your dreams?

Yes.

29 – What was your last dream?

That’s too personal.

30 – What does fog make you think of?

Blank canvas. Or, more accurately, a painting that has been whitewashed over.

31 – Do you believe in animals that don’t exist?

No. But I’d quite like to.

32 – What do you see on the walls of the room where you are?

A couple of my paintings. A mirror. An etching that my girlfriend did of her grandmother.

33 – If you became a magician, what would be the first thing you’d do?

Christ knows. Grow a beard.

34 – What is a madman?

That’s not for me to say.

35 – Are you mad?

Could be.

36 – Do you believe in the existence of secret societies?

I’ve been in a couple of secret societies, so yes.

37 – What was the last weird book you read?

Some Robert Aickman stories. Classic.

38 – Would you like to live in a castle?

I’ve always had a vague fantasy of living in a tower. Just a tower. The rest of the castle has crumbled away.

39 – Have you been somewhere weird today?

Don’t ask where I’ve been.

40 – What is the weirdest film you’ve ever seen?

I’m not sure whether we’re talking about weird or Weird. Watched twenty minutes of the Sound Of Music with the sound off over Christmas. That’s what springs to mind.

41 – Would you like to live in an abandoned train station?

Yeah. Why not.

42 – Can you see the future?

No.

43 – Have you considered living abroad?

Toyed with the idea.

44 – Where?

Finland.

45 – Why?

Tove Jansson.

46 – What is the weirdest film you’ve ever owned?

My brother has a DVD review of Wigan Athletic’s 2008/09 Premier League season. For some reason.

47 – Would you liked to have lived in a vicarage?

Sure. But not with a vicar.

48 – What is the weirdest book you’ve ever read?

The Haunting Of Hill House. Shirley Jackson. Hands down.

49 – Which do you like better, globes or hourglasses?

Bloody hell. Hourglasses?

50 – Which do you like better, antique magnifying glasses or bladed weapons?

This is getting bizarre. Almost kooky. Let’s get back to Weird. Or at least weird.

51 – What, in all likelihood, lies in the depths of Loch Ness?

Lots of things.

52 – Do you like taxidermied animals?

I like badly taxidermied animals. I find animal skeletons much weirder though.

53 – Do you like walking in the rain?

Only if I’m on my way home.

54 – What goes on in tunnels?

Nothing eldritch or unspeakable.

55 – What do you look at when you look away from this questionnaire?

My slippers. A pile of books with M.John Harrison’s Light on top. Some tubes of paint. A digestive biscuit.

56 – What does this famous line inspire in you: “And when he had crossed the bridge, the phantoms came to meet him.”?

Meh.

57 – Without cheating: where is that famous line from?

No idea.

58 – Do you like walking in graveyards or the woods by night?

No.

58 – Write the last line of a novel, short story, or book of the weird yet to be written.

The water in the vase needed changing.

59 – Without looking at your watch: what time is it?

ten-ish

60 – Look at your watch. What time is it?

ten-ish

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