Friday, 13 February 2009

writers and their valentines

We've had all the Flax017 writers in the office now for their photoshoots, recording and biographical profiling (not a genetic engineering session, honest) and boy, did I enjoy it. It's one of the perks of editing Flax that I get a few opportunities to meet and chat with the writers we publish. And talking with the writers about their motivations for writing is always fascinating.

Annie Clarkson, for example, finds "writing about childhood evokes so much emotion in me as a writer and a reader. It is a time where everything is ahead of us, and yet our whole lives are impacted on by what happens in these years." I love that idea of writing pivoting around childhood - that meshing of past and future. John Siddique was wonderfully passionate once I got him going on his new book, Recital, saying how he saw the book as being the part of the shamanic tradition of healing poetry, and how it was his way to contributing to the spiritual regeneration of England. His story, Prism, that's going into Flax follows the same nerve. It was great to catch up with a writer we've previously published, Andrew Michael Hurley. His short stories are like crystal. And it was great to hear he's set himself the challenge of writing a novel. I take my hat off to anyone who embarks on that voyage. Especially when making the transition to it from short story writing. It's like clambering out of a rubber dingy onto one the yachts in the Vendee Globe.

Also fabulous was to meet two writers for the first time. Marita Over is a beautifully accomplished poet, and has taken to writing short stories. Needless to say, Bread, which will be appearing in Unsaid Undone (the next Flax anthology)is a delicately written story dealing with a disquietening subject. The fifth writer is also a poet. Brindley Hallam Dennis's contribution is an extract of a novel in progress. His enthusiasm for writing is boundless - covering scripts, poems, short fiction and this novel. He claimed it's the only thing, apart from washing up, that provides a deep sense of satisfaction.

So Valentine, Schmalentine ... Romantic love is, of course, lovely, but the love that comes from respect and admiration for people's passions deserves not just a day but year-round acknowledgement

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