“ – the dangerous words, the padlocked words, the words that do not belong to the dictionary,
for if they were written there, written out and not maintained by ellipses,
they would utter too fast the suffocating misery of a solitude …”
Introduction to “Soledad Brother – The Prison Letters of George Jackson”
(1) Your Twitter feed features a bunch of clever wordplays with hashtags (example: Murdoch on the Orient Express #AuthorBooks). Do you plan to compile those wordplays into a book?
Not a dedicated book, but I have written stories drawing on the 140 character limit, plus a hashtag game did inspire my story "The Caller To The Bingo Caller's House Calls House" which I can be seen reading here on video.
(2) You call yourself a literary Molotov cocktail thrower. That implies there is an element of danger to your writing. Can you explain?
I see it more as representing that element of my work which poses a challenge and radical alternativcs to the existing literary order. The novel form hasn't really changed since the 18th century and I aim to offer a 21st Century literary form. that doesn't mean I want to overthrow the novel and demand everyone else also conceive of a new or updated novel form, it just represents what interests me. For an introduction to some of these ideas, my essay on Creative Imaginations Blog "Towards A 21st Century Literature"
(3) What is “semtex semiology?” Internet search engines do not recognize that phrase! Did you invent that phrase? If so, why?
No that one is all my own work! It comes from my political novel "Not In My Name" which looks at how extremist politics is being fought in cyberspace which is both a battle for hearts and minds and far more vicious because it is conducted behind a veil of anonymity. The idea of Semtex Semiology, was the paradox of how the most material destructive force of a suicide bomb, was being used to implant ideas, to attract recruits to a political cause. How footage of detonating IEDs (Improvised explosive devices) is being used to wage war on the internet.
(4) You write at length about your university dissertation. How does that fit into your writing?
I actually manipulated my university course choices so as to avoid doing a dissertation! I was very disillusioned with university and was on the point of dropping out when took up creative writing which kept me there because of the opportunities available. But in my debut novel, the main character of which was an academic's wife, I put in a section on each of the different academic types, which may or not be based on my own experiences! You can sample that section here.
(5) What is the meaning of the title of your blog, Sulci Collective? How did you come up with that name?
Well, a sulcus is the wrinkled groove you see on the human brain. Sulci is just the plural form, and collective is both a reference to all of them (ie the whole brain) but also the idea that I wanted my creative work to be collaborative and involve other artists with their own artistic visions and approaches. An example of something produced from collaborating with a designer can be found here I've got a couple of posts about collaboration coming up, as soon as the graphic designer sends me her experience of working with me!
(6) How do you invent so many wordplays? Are you afraid that someone will steal those ideas or plagiarize you somehow? Why or why not?
Not at all, There's enough words in the language to go round for everybody! I love the wordplay because ti keeps my brain limber. It can also prompt an association of ideas that can lead to something I can develop into a longer piece of writing. It is just play, playing with words and language, unlocking that side of the brain.
(7) Your book 52FF features 52 distinct flash fiction stories using diverse, exotic, and interesting themes. What inspired you to write about those themes? Real-life experiences? Fantasies? Television shows? The news?
Anything and everything in real life can provide a prompt. In that book I actually list the prompts for all but the 5 experimental language stories at the end of the book. Here's a link to the list. I've talked quite extensively on prompts for flash fiction, but travelling on public transport is very fertile in this area. Anywhere there are people really!
(8) You have been interviewed extensively. Is there anything that the interviewers have not asked you that you would like an opportunity to discuss?
I have to say yours are the best set of questions I've come across which is why I'm delighted to be doing them. I like out of the box questions that maybe only have a tenuous link to writing. Failing that, I'd talk about my non-starter career as a bass guitarist in a band
(9) Why do you like reading difficult, challenging books? What do you learn or gain from those experiences?
Because I'm interested in different approaches to narrative, particularly ones that take great risks with language or form or both. I like books that force me to think in a different way and it definitely feedsback into how I think about and approach my own writing.
(10) Do you write for the Good Men Project? If yes, can you discuss? If no, can you describe how you support that initiative?
I was asked by a good friend (whose publications I've contributed to and will be hosting on this blog later this week) to send them something as an unpublished novel of mine is all about the experience of growing up male across two generations. So I've contributed, but am not really an active participant. Maybe when I clear my work backlog I'll see if they want to do anything more with me.