The Secret Gates

Remember what I said earlier in the year about accelerating? I’ve been slowed down by some enormously painful tooth problems – which two dentists failed to recognize, meaning the problem got pretty bad and since I’m somewhat resistant to anaesthetics they’ll actually have to knock me out completely to fix it without my brain melting from the pain – but I did mean that, and here’s the first part of my move towards Having More Output.

The Secret Gates is a new site that I co-founded with my close friend Ivo Shmilev, whom some of you may know as the voice of Dr. Georgiev in Phenomenon 32. Ivo is an incredibly kind-hearted person, a brilliant academic and even more brilliant poet, and I’m looking forward to working with him on this project. We’ve been talking about the site on and off for well over a year now. Maybe even two. Time flies.

What is the site? Well, Ivo has written a wonderful Statement of Intent that should tell you everything. I’ll quote a bit of it here:

We begin this site with the intention to write about literature in all its myriad forms, independent of genre categorizations and marketing baskets. In this statement of intent, we only wish to make a couple of distinctions and state the directions we will follow in the future.

First of all, we’ll write about all forms of fiction: novels, short stories, poetry, plays and so on; but also about non-fiction such as historical books, journalistic accounts, and even theoretical texts if we decide to. The one line we’ll draw in terms of categories will be between fiction and non-fiction, so as not to confuse your brain, already overloaded with information, about what is pure art and storytelling on one hand, and what are non-fictional accounts about the real world on the other.

Moreover, we’d like to differentiate ourselves from the huge world of critics out there. We are no professional critics and do not aspire to be such; rather, we approach literature in its enormous diversity from our humble viewpoints as artists. People who write things – and we count ourselves in this very broad group – also tend to read a lot of things. As Stephen King once very shrewdly noted, “If you do not have the time to read, you do not have the time or the tools to write.” This site will collect our thoughts on the numerous works we read.

We’ve also posted our first “proper” post, In Tribute to Iain M. Banks. This is the first part, written by Ivo, and it’ll be a tough act to follow – I don’t want to keep heaping superlatives on him, but I was very moved by what he wrote, perhaps doubly so because I know Ivo and I know how genuinely important Banks is to him.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the site and the perspectives it will offer.