Thursday, 16 January 2020

Kaleidoscope. A creative view of the literary connection between memoir and fiction.



The final version – a certain kind of writer’s magic!


I have just printed off the final master copy of my new short story collection Kaleidoscope – inspired by a series of well received workshops I offered last spring on the crucial connection between memoir and the short story.  This master copy will go to my third highly informed and insightful reader whose views I will welcome.
The title – Kaleidoscope – Stories From The Frontier – and also the nature of these short stories – was inspired by a good deal of reading, especially the work of Diana Athill and Jean Rhys.

I was particularly engaged by Diana Athill’s insightful comment on the late work of Jean Rhys, with whom she worked in the last 15 years of Rhys’s long life. Athill remarked on Rhys’s writing ‘from the ‘frontiers of old age’ as being of her very best,

I realised recently the degree to which my mind and imagination is a storehouse of experiences of my whole life – perceptions, sensual reactions, pleasures and pains. These elements are like the tiny bits of glitter in a kaleidoscope – each bit existing in its own right. Each time I shake my kaleidoscope I make a unique pattern, a unique story, reflecting of elements my life in different times and different places.

After much thought I have come to the conclusion that all memory is best transmuted through fiction and that all fiction is a vehicle for memoir. My Kaleidoscope collection here echoes these ideas and, I hope, reflects the intimate literary relationship between memoir, fiction and the short story,

Kaleidoscope will be published in the spring. I’m looking forward to that. My life is there on the page. I hope Kaleidoscope will resonate with a wide range of writers and readers interested in this complex connection between memoir and fiction.    

My heartfelt hope is that Kaleidoscope will resonate with a wide range of writers and readers interested in this complex and intriguing connection between memoir and fiction.

Ah! Titles! 
The titles of the short stories here are part of the essential truth of the life they reflect – the meat on the bones, as it were...

Kaleidoscope – Stories from the Frontier

 Keong Sak.
I do enjoy Singapore, very much.’   Tim Rice
 Watching and Feeling. ‘Blake said the body was the soul’s prison unless the five senses are fully developed and open.’ Jim Morrison.

This Working Life. Nothing will work unless you do. Maya Angelou
‘The door is inscribed in gold Gothic lettering. Miss Hogarth: Principal…’ R.E

Patchouli. There is nothing automatic about political change, about liberation.   Gloria Steinem.
1963. ‘So, how’s your love life?’ Amanda’s small, round face examines me, top to toe, her eyes shrewd…’ R.E

Bandages. No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. C S Lewis
‘The man, his coxcomb of silver hair bobbing, walks with a spring in his step down the hospital corridor …’ R.E

 Ruthie’s Rant. Even though I was shy, I found I would get onstage of I had a new identity. David Bowie.

 Brown Velvet.
I think  writers are, at best, outsiders to the society they inhabit.   John Irving.

Educating Tegger
The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn …and change.  Carl Rogers

Governess… it is the duty of the poet to obtain citizenship for an increasing horde of nameless emotions…Ágnes Nemes Nagy

Going By Train.
‘I have learned how faces fall to bone,
how under the eyelids terror lurks…Anna Akhmatova, 1957

The Fox House.
 Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. EM Forster

Story Teller’s Apprentice.  My daughter is one of my greatest inspirations… Every day she surprises me and teaches my something. Patti Smith.

White Frost on Grass .Parts One, Two &7 Three
 The first lie in fiction is that the author gives some order to the chaos of life. Isabel Allende.

Big Issue; Esme’s Story.
Now I know what a ghost is. Unfinished business, that's what.’
Salman Rushdie.  

Tiananmen. Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Albert Einstein.












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