Sunday, September 19, 2010

Conf 647: Back to Fiction


Up early this morning, trying to catch up with Saturday's papers before Sunday's arrives.

Really loved this Guardian Lee Rourke interview with Tom McCarthy, author of Booker shortlisted novel 'C'. It sounds fantastic, and HE sounds amazing. Way above my head much of it & the novel might be as well. But am encouraged by the most popular Amazon review which starts off: The first thing to note is that C is a very enjoyable read. The comic element comes through on nearly every page, and McCarthy's permanent style of `show' rather than `tell' means that you have that slightly smug satisfaction when you 'get' the obscure jokes. A lot of the jokes are pretty dark....

Loved this bit of the interview On Writing:

'One of the ways of thinking about art, or the novel, is that the writer is the transmitter, the originator: I have something to say about the world and I'm going to transmit it. But this isn't how I see it. I see it as exactly the inverse: the writer is a receiver and the content is already out there. The task of the writer is to filter it, to sample it and remix it - not in some random way, but conscientiously and attentively. This is what Heidegger says about poets: to be a poet is to listen before speaking: it's first and foremost a listening and not a speaking. Kafka said it as well: "I write in order to affirm and reaffirm that I have absolutely nothing to say." Writing, or art, is not about having something to say; it's about aspiring to a heightened state of hearing. It's why C is a totally acoustic novel and a receptive novel. The hero, Serge, sits there for hours trawling the aether waves, absorbing, listening to ship-to-shore transmissions, stock market prices, sports results, writing them all down. In a way if you could see Serge's transcript it would probably read like an Ezra Pound canto.'

Have downloaded first 3 chapters to Kindle.

I've been rewriting my first attempt at a novel over the summer. Retyping and updating with a view to reissuing as an ebook. Fortunately my contract included the all-important reversion of rights clause so my words are mine again to do with as I wish.

I keep coming across stupendously bad writing. No wonder, I keep on thinking as I tap away, no wonder it got that horrible review. And that fundamentalist One Star nutter on US Amazon was completely right. I'm not beating myself up too much about it. Just welcoming the opportunity to put it right. A film-maker friend thinks I shouldn't be doing it. That I should be moving on not going backwards. But it was/is still a good story, and even more relevant today than it was then. And I'm looking forward to re-packaging with a title and cover of my choosing.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

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