So I have a story in Ann VanderMeer’s Bestiary anthology, about invisible grief-eating leeches called Weialalaleia. That’s not the important thing.
In addition to writing stories, the contributors of the anthology were asked to write semi-fictional bios to accompany them. Those bios are now all posted on Tor.com. That’s still not the important thing, though it is super freaking cool.
The important thing is that I outsourced the writing of my bio to my then-fiancé, now-husband, Stu West, and he wrote me not one, but four imaginary bios, and they are all stunningly beautiful.
The one that made it into the book, because it best suited the tone of the project, is on Tor.com with the others; but I want to share the rest of them here, because they move me so much and because they’re charming and gorgeous and because when I’m feeling unhappy or upset I sometimes pull them up in my email to remind myself of how my husband sees me and it helps.
Here they are.
The Amal is a colourful toucan-like bird that nests in the cloud forests of New Caledonia. Travellers’ accounts of the area are filled with tales of distantly-overheard treetop discussions on modern architecture, philosophies of cooking, and current fashions in Patagonia, but when there are strangers in their midst the birds maintain a strict silence and an air of mild annoyance at all times.
All that is known of the Amal is its noted fondness for playing pranks by moving large stone objects under cover of darkness. In ancient times its propensity for rearranging obelisks made a mockery of attempts to tell sun time; more recently a Scottish cafe which has become a particular favourite of the Amal has not been located on the same street for two consecutive weeks since 1967.
“Light a fire, meet an Amal,” the old saying goes, and indeed reports persist of a creature of pure flame who emerges from stoves and hearths and demands to be told a story. Some accounts indicate that if your story makes the Amal cry she will allow you to live in the fire in her stead while she takes your place in the “extinguished world” but that can’t possibly be true. No.
The Bestiary is at present only available through this fantastic-looking Storybundle; there are only 16 more days in which to get it in cheap convenient e-book form! After that it’ll be a super-limited-edition hardcover from Centipede Press, lavishly illustrated and due out in February.