Sara Century is a queer writer who specializes in short stories, articles about comics and film, and who has written many, many zines. She knows a lot about comics, movies, and history. She is an artist, comic creator, filmmaker, and podcaster, and she used to be a musician. She can found online at www.saracentury.com.
The Fiends in the Furrows II: More Tales of Folk Horror
“The Death of a Drop of Water”
I love all horror, and I feel that all settings have a horror element. Daytime horror and folk horror are integral and often neglected subgenres because many people have lost a connection to what it’s like to be truly detached from society. As a kid I was allowed to run pretty much wild and even now I remember walking through the woods one specific day and knowing for a fact that someone was there with me, hiding and watching me. Kids disappear that way all of the time and are never seen or heard from again. I didn’t vanish, but I wouldn’t go into the woods alone anymore. More than any other subgenre of horror, folk horror capitalizes on the fear of an ancient, earthly presence that humanity fails to acknowledge and will almost certainly never understand, but that will always outlive us.
Where did the inspiration for your FIENDS II short story come from?
Spending time alone and feeling isolated. Those moments when someone reaches out to you to ask how you are and there’s no way to summarize what you’re feeling or what state of mind you’re in because you realize that the person you’re speaking with is existing at a different frequency entirely. My protagonist can’t reach out to anyone, and can’t explain her circumstance, and can’t see a point to making that attempt. There is a semi-tangible threat in the story, but it’s a manifestation of her hopelessness that leaves her helpless to resist. We need hope to survive – people lose hope all around us every day and it destroys them, so in that way, hopelessness itself is a villain.
What is your favorite kind of tree, and why?
I live in Upper Michigan and when the trees turn in the fall the whole world changes. The bright, popping colors are so beautiful but it’s also a sign that everything is soon going to be under snow for several months. When I was a kid I lived in Missouri and remember two trees, locust trees with their long, sharp needs and Dogwood trees that would blossom in spring. I like all trees but those are ones that stick with me.
How has the Coronavirus pandemic impacted your writing?
I’m a full-time writer so it hasn’t changed my output other than I’m writing more about nostalgia and less about current releases, which have obviously dwindled. Meanwhile, the stress of knowing how much people are suffering and the obvious oppressive results of a government that has handled things so shockingly, purposefully badly and led to so much death I think is something a lot of us will be parsing for much of the rest of our lives. It has yet to show up in my work explicitly because I think I’m still reeling from it, like so many of us are. The vast number of deaths that have garnered nothing but a shrug from elected officials and the general tone this catastrophe has set for what we can expect from our leaders going forward is scarier than any horror story I’ve ever read.
What’s next for you, in terms of writing projects?
This has been a big year career-wise – I’ve continued my critical work for SYFY and others, my comic book podcast with S.E. Fleenor called Bitches on Comics, and I just assembled a 30 story anthology by queer writers that gave subscribers a new story every day of June in celebration of Pride. I’m working on a 31 episode horror podcast series that will debut towards the end of the year. This has been a year of big projects, but I’m hoping to take a month off somewhere in the winter to drink hot toddies in bed while watching the snowfall.