Wyrd Question Daze : Bryn Hammond
Hi, I’m Bryn, a writer. That’s my primary identity.
Seen here with my historical fiction on the Mongols. Here’s another photo of my shrine: several different translations of the Secret History of the Mongols, and Amgalant, my own novels as an offering.
My website Amgalant is mostly Mongol stuff. I’m still on Twitter @Jakujin, and at Mastodon @firstname.lastname@example.org
Other things I’ve written lately:
Sword and sorcery with New Edge Sword & Sorcery Magazine, edited by the wonderful Oliver Brackenbury. Our Issue 0 is free in epub/pdf, at-cost in paperback and hardcover. Do stick your hand up—download, read and review, sign up to the mailing list—if you’d like to see further issues of excitingly new and inclusive S&S.
Queer Weird West Tales anthology, in which I have a novelette set in a fantasy version of the Russia-Siberia frontier circa 16th century.
I write poems too, not often enough. I’m proud of this Beowulf poem, and proud to be the first poet at the brand-new Green Splotches online venue for speculative poetry.
Where did you come from and where are you going?
Going nowhere fast.
I come from a position of great optimism, and… that word of William Blake’s, exuberance. ‘Exuberance is beauty’ he said, and the teacher I got along with taught me to believe. I’m an exuberant person, and my greatest fear is that it’s getting a little hard to stay that way.
What preoccupies your mind these days?
How to live in a world of constant, escalating crisis. The way my thinking has changed into the short term.
Name a favourite taste, touch, sound, sight and smell
Taste: fresh coriander leaf
Touch: oil paint, textured with hair wax, on my fingers#
Sound: baroque opera. Certain songs from Handel’s Hercules, Monteverdi’s Poppea, or Vivaldi’s Bajazet.
Sight: seawater in different lights
Smell: lemons from my tree
Describe one of your most vivid dreams or nightmares
I almost never remember my dreams. So the werewolf dream I had around age twelve stood out. It’s the only time I couldn’t shake the feeling of a dream being real, and gave me a genuine fear of werewolves for years. I’m not over it.
Have you ever had an uncanny experience?
Not yet. But if I don’t meet an extraterrestrial in my lifetime I’ll be most upset. It can be as uncanny as it likes: life elsewhere in the universe is the only hope I have left.
How does your sense of place affect the way you express yourself?
I have always lived inside my head, in imaginary existences, and ignore my physical surroundings to an abnormal extent. It’s why I don’t drive a car. Still, I must mention the sea, or perhaps water. Melville, in the first chapter of Moby-Dick, was right about the sea, and instilled in me my sea-craze years before I moved to the coast. Along with Algernon Swinburne, whose poetry is obsessed with the sea.
A walk by, or better in, water, fixes any writing trouble you can throw at it. An impossible writing tangle cannot resist my ‘writing beach’, as I refer to my local.
What has particularly touched or inspired you recently?
Chaucer Doth Tweet
Being asked to do interviews
Tell us a good story, anecdote or joke
I cannot tell jokes or anecdotes. But my Mongol muse, Jamuqa, can. Here he is telling a story, in an excerpt from my Amgalant:
There was a story he loved, about a Chinese. “As cultured as any Chinese, a famous prose stylist, who held the office, at one stage of his career, of Assistant Facilitator of Propriety. It’s the sort of office Chinese have. Served with distinction in the wars against a tribal mountain people stuck in the midst of China, perpetual rebels. Every day he’d send his agents far and wide to scout for executions, and whenever they found a fresh cadaver on a gallows, they filched the liver. This organ, raw, he’d have put before him with salt and vinegar, as his own first course in an otherwise perfectly conventional dinner. To the shock, horror and nausea of colleagues and acquaintances who dined at his house. Now, who does this, I ask you? The mountain tribes? Maybe. Maybe they had a nibble on a liver. But this character, he just had to out-barbarian the barbarians.”
The story is perfectly historical. Secretly, Jamuqa’s fascinated because he may have had a nibble on human flesh himself.