Group Think

31 May

Ten years ago, when first I moved to the East Anglian town in which I now live, I joined a recently formed writing group. I stayed for five years, until the group began to run out of steam. This month, another former member and I started up a new group. The time seemed right. One never knows whether these enterprises will achieve take-off or not, but its beginnings have been quite promising. There’s a good mix of experience, the members all having been published or having won competitions at some point in their careers. From my point of view, it’s a partial remedy to ‘writing in a vacuum’, that experience of working for years on a project, no part of which anyone else has seen, apart from the snippets that I’ve shared here with my five readers…

A fractured view

I think the fractured approach to long projects that I’ve developed over the last decade might have caused some consternation among the new members. In essence, I weave together a number of threads, each of which throws light on the others until the entire fabric of the narrative becomes clear. It’s not for everyone… ‘I’m not sure where this heading’ one comment ran. Well, it could be that my recent style takes some getting used to or that my latest project is unreadable rubbish! Clearly, I like to think that it’s the former but you can never be sure with your own work, can you? In any case, having put almost three years’ worth of effort in, I have no choice but to see it through.

Here’s what the soundtrack to my writing technique might sound like (yes, it’s called ‘Fracture’):

And here’s another little recent extract, addressed to the point!

Consider my Anti-Story, then.  You may take the conspiratorial, Anti-Stratfordian view of it if you wish.  I can sympathise.  I know something about disputed authorship myself.  You point to the material facts of my life, such as they are – the cramped, low-rent accommodation, the rota of unskilled and temporary manual occupations, the social strata in which I’ve moved – and attribute my story to someone else.  Even a fragmented, non-sequential account such as this, you suggest, implies a certain level of education.  You scour the manuscript for your bargain-basement Bacon, that discount-store Earl of Derby.  Iivo-Jaan Knuutssendaal, Tarrin Olavssens, Jaako Noorii, the Rosi-Ikon, the Eegnatjaans, Pappajuul… you discover a host of potential candidates, eager to put themselves forward. And then there’s the matter of my own name.  Peettruusens, Pettroesaunus, Petersen… I can’t even spell that with anything approaching consistency, you argue, so how could I have possibly authored such a monograph?  And what are the names of the cities and countries in which I claim to have lived?  What evidence can I show of my existence?  I have no answer.  There is only the text… 

All words and images © PSR 2015 

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4 Responses to “Group Think”

  1. masgautsen May 31, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

    I hope your group will be a succes and that you, and the other members will benefit from it!

  2. Paul Sutton Reeves May 31, 2015 at 4:07 pm #

    Hi Maja and thanks! Time will tell…

  3. Mari Biella June 1, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    Best of luck with this, Paul. I think the company of other writers can be very helpful, even if you don’t always agree with their points of view. Your ‘fractured’ approach sounds rather similar to my own, so I hope it’s a viable one… 🙂 I’m certain, anyway, that nobody could ever describe your work as ‘unreadable rubbish’!

  4. Paul Sutton Reeves June 1, 2015 at 5:03 pm #

    Hi Mari and thanks for commenting. Yes, any feedback a writer can get should be welcome.

    I think the fractured approach is a valid one. I suppose, in the end, it comes down to whether sufficient interest can be generated by the individual strands before the writer brings them all together. Good luck with yours! I think some people might describe my writing as unreadable – the English tolerance for the unconventional is pretty low!

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