The Third Bear Carnival is now at hand. Bring the monsters, bring your friends! Bring the horses on the mend, bring the bright dancing stars, but leave the souls at home, trapped in mirrors. Bears come dancing, clowns riding on back, waving their censors in the air. Down on knees, down in front! All will lose all, all will be all, all will see all.
Bears. First it was squid. Then meerkats**. Now bears. Does Vandermeer have an animal fetish? Does each creature become a totem spirit for him? Or do they exist as symbols, as dream spirits, as mythology he is exploring and devouring? Why does he pick an animal symbol and run with it for so long? Will he marry a bear soon? Will he ride one to war? Will the meercats get jealous, and team up with the squid, and take to the skies shouting KrakenCrackenCrakkyn! and tear the world apart out of neglected rage?
Is he like a boy, with new toys, he plays and loves them and then after so many years just leaves them lying on the floor, discarded empty symbols without any spirit? Where do his old images go? Do they haunt his books, wandering between the pages, lonesome ghosts calling out, Jeff! Jeff! Mister Vandermeer! Please, come back to us, bring us back to court! We miss you so!
Do they turn then, to readers, who will not abandon them, who will not render them inert, but will go back and re-read and cherish them? What a hollow victory that would be for these objects, for these old pieces of art left in the rain like lost loves forgotten. You are not He they say you are not the creator, the one, the true one we love.
But I guess- I guess you’ll do.
Until that reader picks up the Third Bear and starts reading. And those old books now shuffle on the shelves, lonesome again. Always, always. Lonesome again.
**Footnotes are a poor man’s tool. Ignore this at your own peril.