I’m actually a little surprised how long it’s been since last updating this blog. I suppose I’ve been using the blog to provide updates on what I’ve been doing, pieces accepted and published, readings and events, the usual currency of an evolving writer, and as the last twelve months haven’t been particularly successful in any of these spheres there seemed to be little need to provide an update, unless in a Beckettian way of nothing happening, again.
If I was of a mind I might use this space to complain, yet again, about the journals and publishers who don’t respond to submissions, as there surely has to be a special circle of hell reserved for them, but I’ll leave that for another day when I’m feeling less generous and really feel like sticking the fucking knife in.
It’s not that I haven’t been busy, in the gap between this and my last post. Looking at the short stories I’ve amassed I initially started to put them together into a collection which I could submit. I remember speaking to a poet friend who told me about the great level of thought she gives in putting different pieces together, considering where they fit in the grand scheme of the collection, and in relation to the pieces that come before, and after.
Assembling the collection I became aware that many of the pieces were so closely connected that they really had to be considered together, but just putting them together as a traditional short story collection wouldn’t necessarily work. I could see not only thematic similarities, but even a sense that the pieces were telling the same story, but from different angles.
Unhappy with the idea of a short story collection, with these pieces, I decided to, essentially, take them each apart, shuffle them together, and put them all back together into one longer piece. What I’m now left with is what I’m calling an experimental auto fiction novel, called “This”.
I’ve taken my cues from writers who inspire me, such as Beckett, Marguerite Duras and Joanna Walsh, and the structure of ‘The Unfortunates’, by BS Johnson (with a nod towards the structure of the musical composition ‘In C’ by Terry Riley). Essentially, I picture the book as an attempt by the protagonist(s) to escape time, that is, lives and events that are limited by external factors, specifically time. So in essence the pieces that make up the book occur one on top of the other. They, hopefully, blend into a whole that will say more by the experience of reading it than any traditional form of narrative or novel writing could.
I know I’ve moved away now from my idea of becoming a crime writer. While I still love the world of noir (the true world of noir, not the use of that term to smear over anything vaguely shadowy or stylised), my writing has become more experimental, but I’m happier with it as it is. I know I may be moving away from forms that may have been more popular, or of interest to a wider audience, but I have to be true to myself, and what I’ve put together as “This” is as true a book as could ever hope for.
Of course now I take my new little book, still raw and mewling, and hop aboard the Beckettian funfair ride that is the world of submissions.