Thursday, May 21, 2009


Inner Wind of the Blog

When I was seventeen I wrote a short story called 'Southbound Satin' about a man and woman stranded in the middle of the ocean who decide to build a raft even though they have no construction materials to hand apart from each other... I lost that story a few years later (all the fiction I wrote between the ages of 14 and 22 has been lost) but I always knew that one day I would attempt a rewrite. I kept putting that duty off, though! Prompted by a story request from the editor Danel Olsen, I finally took the plunge and produced a second 'Southbound Satin' a quarter of a century after writing the original... I have rewritten many of my lost stories and the rewrites are usually an improvement and this is certainly the case with 'Southbound Satin'. Without giving too much away I can say that the initial solution to the raft problem is saucy rather than nasty...

What makes this experience even better for me is that my story going to appear in an anthology with Milorad Pavić, one of my great literary heroes! I have enjoyed and admired the work of Pavić ever since I read Dictionary of the Khazars back in the '90s. For a long time after that, Pavić was my favourite writer and maybe I tried too hard to write like him. His extreme inventiveness, stunningly strange metaphors, bizarre characters and non-linear plots were (and still are) exactly to my taste. This photo shows me with two of his novels, Last Love in Constantinople and The Inner Side of the Wind. I am especially fond of the latter, which contains two engaging narratives printed dos-à-dos (back to back) that are independent but meet in the middle. You read any one, flip the book over and read the other. Marvellous!

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