From Thomas Ligotti’s story, “Autumnal.”
“And we are always dreaming of the day when all the fires of summer are defunct, when everyone like a shriveled leaf sinks into the cooling ground of a sunless earth, and when even the colors of autumn have withered for the last time, dissolving into the desolate whiteness of an eternal winter.”
Ligotti’s sentences–nevermind the stories themselves–are a strange mix of metaphor and simile, lurching serpentine through the sensorial and the memorial, infused by both the disorienting logic of dreams, and the real-life image-rot of urban decay, the blight of terror zones like post-rustbelt, meteor-wreck Detroit; and this sentence, specifically, with its nature-language, with its snuffing out of the sun, is as complete and full as any I’ve ever read, a sentence that sums up, in totality, not only the sad beauty of the life-cycle (we start with the “fires of summer,” lose our color, and dissolve into “desolate whitenes”), but also the cold, unrelenting, ever-expanding texture of time and the universe itself–no small feat, by any measure.
John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.