B. Morris Allen grew up in a house full of books that traveled the world. Nowadays, they’re e-books, and lighter to carry, but they’re still multiplying. He’s been a biochemist, an activist, and a lawyer, and now works as a foreign aid consultant. When he’s not roaming foreign countries fighting corruption, he’s on the Oregon coast, chatting with seals. In the occasional free moment, he edits Metaphorosis magazine, and works on his own speculative stories of love and disaster.
Q: What work of art has been the most inspiring?
A: It’s tempting to go full pseud on this one, but just the other day I was reading the second volume of art critic Brian Sewell’s autobiography, ‘Outsider’, and he reminded me about the genius of Salvador Dali. I was fascinated by his creations as a younger man, and gazed at glossy copies of ‘Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)’ for hours. It combines religious ecstasy with the mysteries of nuclear science and higher dimensions. Christ is fixed, by nothing but ‘fields’, to the cruciform shape of an unfolded tesseract, or hypercube. Apparently, though I didn’t know it at the time, there are multiple representations of the painter and Gala, his wife, in the skin folds and shadows of each knee. You have to see it in the flesh to spot them. This painting appealed to my developing (Godless) mind in the same way as John Fowles’ The Magus and numerous concept albums. Although Dali is sometimes looked down upon as a painter for adolescents, perhaps he was, as Sewell says, ‘…the last of the great old masters.’
Kelly lives in Seattle, where the weather is always happy to make staying in and writing seem like a good idea. Her family includes a patient husband, a demanding cat, and an anarchist tortoise. By day, she works as an editor and has strong opinions about commas. By night, she works as a writer and annoys editors with her comma use.
Q: What is your favorite fairy tale and why?
A: I don’t have a favourite as such when it comes to fairy tales but the one that definitely rises to the surface whenever I think back to stories that influenced me at a young age; is the story of ‘Tailypo.’ The actual story itself is more of legend that found its way into the fairy tale simply by it being repeatedly told until it became commonly told to children and used as a cautionary tale. I remember it being one of the first instances realising that what I was enjoying, and what I really wanted out of the story, was an unhappy ending, I quite enjoyed the fact that the ending was left more or less open to your imagination and you yourself were able to fill in the details as to what becomes of the lead character as well as the story having the guts to give us a dose of realism. The idea of that sort of brutal honesty in a story, when everything else in fairy tales seemed (at the time) dressed up to shield the young reader from realism, had me quite enamoured.
The fact that Tailypo started as a legend, with no author claiming ownership, also gave it a root in reality and a certain mystique that something like Goldilocks and The Three Bears just didn’t have straight off the bat – and the fact that there were so many variations on it also made it seem like it needed investigating. Subsequently; everyone I would tell it to would have a different version to trade and I would trade stories, gladly, until I built up my own personal mythos about the legend and it’s very dark message. In some ways, on a very basic level, it is a perfect story and is still a story I ‘check in on’ from time to time to see if anyone else has added a new version to the mix.
Q: Do you make art other than prose? What kind, and how is it different?
A: Unfortunately, I am not gifted in any art other than prose. I can’t draw, can’t sing, and never took my childhood piano lessons seriously. I am grateful, however, for the existence of those who are gifted in the visual and musical arts!