Friday, 16 January 2009

perfect forms

It seems ages since I've had a pile of short stories/novel extracts to read through for the next Flax anthology - the last time was for the poster commissions. I approach the pile tentatively. It could contain absolutely anything, which is, of course, potentially thrilling. The flip side is the fear of wading through story after story of half-formed ideas, or cliche-ridden writing that blunts my brain. As with most worries (according to my mother at least), this generally fails to materialise. What I love about the fiction submissions is that what I read is usually highly polished, considered work, clearly written by people with a passion for the form. And what a form. Chekhov claimed short stories should be like a 'shot of vodka'. Ali Smith reckoned they could take the shirts off our backs. Raymond Carver, according to this, had a thing about doughnuts and we all know how heralded he is in the art.

So, by all accounts by the end of the afternoon, I should be wandering around half-naked, sugary-lipped and pissed. yeah yeah. Thank you.


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