Death of a Bookman – a series of essays/rants/exposes from a writer/translator/publisher who wants to burn bridges, dig up corpses and dissect done deals, all in the name of books for the 21st century.
I have been invited by Anna Robinson to be part of this online Writing Process Tour. Do have a look at her site and follow the tour backwards as well as forwards. There are many interesting writers who are part of this process. We have each answered the same 4 questions and then nominated 3 others to take part.
What am I working on?
Resuscitating prison literature from three decades back (see previous post), developing a new religion and trying to square up to the digital age. Running an indie publishing house and a cultural magazine of the unfree in the UK leaves no time for my own writing. But then again, I do have plans to publish three novels in the next three years, as well as translating several more, so I am going to have to try pulling my finger out quite soon.
How Does My Work Differ From Others in its Genre?
As for the writing itself, I am not trying for any original sort of originality. Only vividness. None of my literary heroes were innovative or transgressive. I have no time for shockers like Joyce or Burroughs. I want writing that is superficially conventional, but tells that same old story in fresh ways. Like a sleeper street racing car – totally standard on the outside, supercharged wonders under the hood.
When it comes to my translations, I am never absolutely true to the original. The thing that interests me in my approach is the readers’ experience. They must be able to feel what the intended reader in the original language was meant to feel, as I understand it. If this means taking some liberties with the original text, so be it (see my translations of Tuwim).
Why Do I Write What I Do?
The book is the most astounding invention in human history. The second will be the quantum computer, which will similarly alter the human mind. In my writing, I am trying to get one to marry the other – the convergence of art and science is something that passionately drives me to write. Also, I am trying to pen the scientific theory of love. The parallels between the two sets of motives should be clear to anyone who knows something about the cultures of creativity and scientific endeavour.
How Does my Writing Process Work?
Like a chav teen on working a bank holiday weekend, basically. Haltingly, at best. Writing is the most challenging of all artistic processes, demanding the brain convert thought into alphabetic symbols and in this way create worlds of emotional and intellectual wonder. This is exhausting work, hence, being a decidedly lazy sort of soul, I find writing the hardest of grafts. But I do love it. And I walk. A lot. That is when all my “writing” happens. When all the ideas swirl, get hunted down and ordered into narratives. What happens once I sit at my computer is then only typing.
The elephant in the room is weeping, the King stark raving naked.
DISCLAIMER: These texts are intended to stir up debate about some complex topics which are very important to us, not to stir up conflicts which are very displeasing to us. We know publishing won’t be revolutionised overnight, that change is a very slow process, but that instigating it sometimes demands a little radical thinking. Everything with a pinch of salt and a dollop of ice-cool calm, por favor.