Sunday, 11 March 2012

New Fiction Out

Or should that be Old Fiction Out?

After all, The Door Beyond the Water, just out in the Dark Tales of Lost Civilisations anthology from Dark Moon Books, is a complete and utter overhaul of a story written maybe ten years ago, previously published (and read by exactly no one) in a magazine called The Willows.

I'm not going to talk about it too much about that one, though, since I'm holding out for my contributor copy and a proper look inside.  I've had a good vibe with this one from the beginning though, mainly because editor Eric Guignard's been such a treat to work with, so hey, finger's crossed.

Also out this week, though, and even older in its original version, is a story called Hand That Feeds, podcast last Sunday by Nil Desperandum.  I've gone on before about the genesis of this one, how I originally wrote it a zillion or so years ago as some kind of wacky, polemical  pit-fight of art versus the state, with art winning by a clear knockout, and then chipped and chipped away over the intervening millennia, until it was hard to say just who was right, the artist who can't help but point out how much he doesn't fit in or the bureaucrat who has to deal with him, regardless of his own feelings on the matter.  At which point I fell back in love with it a little and started sending it out - because if there's one thing I enjoy, it's writing stories that thrust big questions at the reader and then completely fail to come down on either side.

Listening to it, as wonderfully read by Scott Danielson of A Good Story is Hard to Find - who, by the way, captures the character of LeGris to a rather scary degree - I can't help but wonder at how things would have worked out if I hadn't walked away from struggling to write so-called literary fiction, abandoned the befuddling lessons of my English degrees and my weird desire to write like some impossible combination of Kafka, Dostoevsky and Conrad.  Would I be a better writer today?  Or would I be drinking absinth and eating cockroaches in a garrett flat somewhere, struggling to nail that impossible first word of that impossible first novel?  Would I be sitting here blogging about a story I wrote ten or more years ago about a misunderstood (or maybe, too-well understood) artist or would I be in some Soho coffee shop bitching about how nobody understands my art?  Are Soho coffee shops even open this late?  I mean, who drinks coffee at this time on a Sunday night?

Like the characters in Hand That Feeds, I have no answers.  But for a story I wrote whole aeons ago, I'm pretty pleased with how this one's turned out.

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