I first read Caitlin R. Kiernan’ Silk on a train ride returning to college freshman year. Her usage of words and compounding nouns to colors creating imagery pulled upon collective memory to produce emotion was angry, hurt, and younger version of the Southern Gothic Writers (Toni Morrison and Carson McCullers) I enjoyed. Her frustrated with life’s reality had reflected my own by this point. With that book, and all the followed, Caitlin R. Kiernan became a writer whose books I purchased, on the strength of previous work, on release day.
Like all the characters in Silk I wanted more from life, to achieve the dreams that I dreamt for my grown-up self. In my first reading, the weight of pain of characters’ life was lost upon me because I was still in the midst of my own and was unable to identify it. The pain that characters radiated bloomed from their queerness, their ability to perceive and reconfigure the world so that it reflects their identity. While Kiernan was able to infuse the characters with knowledge of their uniqueness, I was still constructing mine and so did not see that my lack of knowledge was the source of my repressed anger.