Selected Writing

The Spider Web

The Spider Web took me about four months to finish. It’s in the same class as The Best Way to Travel: it’s a long, somewhat experimental story that revels in rich language and grotesque characters. The idea of it comes from my last year in Vancouver. I was living in a basement suite that, especially at the beginning of the year, was full of all sorts of spiders. They’d turn up all over the place—mutlitudes of them, every day. I tolerated a few of them that had woven webs in convenient places—that is to say not in my bed. All alone, and underground, with spiders, with only electric light and linoleum, I was able to dream up some pretty potent things for this story.

The story displaces a lot of these eerie associations onto objects and people: there is a big house whose denizens trap guests and each other in a web that varies in consistency from the physical, such as a mesh of string, wire, and sticks that one character has constructed in her room, to the psychological, as is the case with a traveling salesman who draws in his victims for sales—albeit badly.

The salesman is interesting because he weaves the whole story—a web in which to trap the reader, like the fictions he tells the people he meets in order to sell something.

It’s definitely more digestible than The Best Way to Travel, but also much darker. With a title like The Spider Web, I would hope that readers would be disappointed to find otherwise.