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Posts Tagged ‘Fragment’

The Freedom of the City – fragment

In Creative Writing Department, Fragment, Writing Diary on September 29, 2009 at 10:20 pm


On a whim I have just opened and read a fragment of a novel I begain back when I was having a major crisis having left work, been left by a woman I loved (for reasons unfathomable to me now perhaps, if love should ever be that), and having, over the course of the relationship, been so frequently the subject of attacks against every aspect of my personality that I felt sub-human, my asperger’s and ADHD and whatever it is in my head resolving to make me an utterly odious individual incapable of being reformed. Well, that obviously led me down some pretty dark lanes in my mind, and when I finally found it in me to write prose fiction again, as I had been unable to for a long time, I started writing something extemporaneously over a theme that was redolent of Kafka, as, indeed, was my mindset. (Writers too often try to make claims for the originality of their work by downplaying the influences of their forebears, but my outlook on life was Kafkaesque before ever I read Kafka as a result of my mental wiring and so it would be far from absurd to relate that such a story as this might not have been substantially different if I had never read him; indeed, that is what I believe. You may believe otherwise. Kafka certainly, though, is of course a reference point held in my mind as I write here, as is, for example Wolf Solent by John Cowper Powys, and the film The Bothersome Man.) I have not opened the document for months, having given up on the idea with the realistic belief there would be little point in committing to a novel that I was led to be a specific moment and which ephemeral, in the sense that I have such ideas almost every day. It could have been any of them, and so, at any day, it could be replaced. Coincidentally, I created the document exactly six months ago today. I have been writing for half a year now.

The Freedom of the City

 Chapter 1

 With everything said that needed to be said – everything said, at least, that could be said – and all the questions answered that he could think to ask – all the questions, that is, he had the nerve and motivation to ask – R stood with the three of them around the yet-to-be-unpacked coffee machine. An uneasy silence settled around them that Mr Krimson determined to defeat with his busy fumblings with the cardboard box, the polystyrene packaging that had to be dragged from it, and the many individually-wrapped chrome implements he put together with a bemused dedication and desultory commentary. Messrs [Gule] and Claret walked to the window and admired the view in stilted tones, discussing the many hand made birdboxes that punctuated the colourful, well-watered garden.

“Ah, which leaves this, aha, which goes in here,” said Mr Krimson, evidently pleased with himself as he twisted an arm into place with what was, it had to be admitted, a satisfying clunk. He removed it and placed it on the counter, struggling then to open a vacuum-sealed pack of coffee. Read the rest of this entry »

Fragment: The Enthusiast

In Creative Writing Department, Fragment, Short story on September 26, 2009 at 1:32 pm

It breaks my heart, but I’m still writing fragments, getting two thirds or less into any given story before moving on to something else. My head just can’t maintain an interest in any one story for long enough to get through it. Here’s one I was trying to write into a blog that never got off the ground, doing so in the hope that writing it up in this way may mean that people oversaw what I was doing and kept me on track. It didn’t work. I found this in its present state yesterday, a year and a half (and a long, long, year and a half) after making a start on it. The story would have been rich. I would have lived it. I know I did. The characters fully alive. And then, a few cursory notes at the bottom is hardly enough to bring it back. That goes for a fragment a year and a half old, but also, as I have recently discovered, for stories abandoned, stalled, only weeks ago. My mind changes its climate and entire focus so quickly. It breaks my heart. Make of it what you will:

The Enthusiast

– Thanks for sticking it out, I said. It was one of the first things I had said like that and meant it.

– It’s ok, she said.

– I’ll finally be able to lose this gut, I said, grabbing at my stomach and shaking it up and down under my untucked shirt. I had always been a streak of piss, and big into my running, until the restaurant opened, after which, if I wasn’t there, I was necking back a pint or three, often in the casino with the guys and girls. I hadn’t had a decent, unrushed meal in eighteen months.

Karen was my sous chef, a tough girl who had run away from the back of beyond, somewhere in North Wales to be precise, where her Mum and Dad had gone to run a B & B after a hard life in Sheffield. Her Mum had come down with ME when she was thirteen getting shit from the locals at school for being English – the idea of settling down into the towns they had spent most of their lives hating didn’t go down too well – and staying at home to cook and help out had seemed like a much better option than going in to school to have them switch to Welsh when she came near, the bastards. But when her mum and dad started having problems she turned up back in Sheffield to seek out a few old friends. The few who were left, and who didn’t have kids, didn’t want to know, but she found herself a job in the kitchen of a pub ands worked all hours and got herself a place, worked hard and got herself through catering college in the evenings, until she moved down to the midlands with an ex, only to be unceremoniously dumped for some slapper he met at a karaoke bar when she was working one Saturday night.

She’s a grafter. Read the rest of this entry »