"Town's End," the first story of mine to appear in SH, was one of the first yokai stories I ever wrote. It was a strange, crazy sort of story that I really enjoyed writing; but I was not sure if anyone except me would like it.
Because after all, most of those who read SH wouldn't have even heard of these monsters. Would anyone be interested at all? Even if anyone was interested, was I good enough a storyteller to write these characters in a way the readers would find them relatable? Maybe the editors had accepted a wrong story and this whole thing was a mistake!?
All the fears, questions, dissolved into (almost) nothing soon. The editors were super nice, and there seemed to be people who actually enjoyed the story. And I thought, 'So I really, really, can write about whatever I want to write about, and people don't mind?'
Strange Horizons, its staff and readers, are the place where I learned that I didn't have to try to be a writer that I am not. I do wish there are more places like this, but knowing that there is at least one place that tries to stay that embracing place, that tries to be even better, is very, very important.
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