Today’s guest post is from Stephen Pollock, the latest author to contribute to The Lit Bits series of short Kindle stories. Look out for ‘Wind Of Change’ and ‘Lord Anthony’ coming soon to Lit Bits as a bonus double bill:
Ah, yes, the short story—that concise little beast that lingers at the end of your pen on a cold, nascent morning. Flowing like cheap wine on a hen night, a stubborn steak refusing to budge from your colon. I love to dip my head in the writer’s trough, wolfing up the slop in great big slurps. It can torture you; it can edify you—three thousand odd words of concise vividness. Kingsley Amis would chide his son Martin for relentless vividness that exhausted the reader. Kingsley wanted more “He walked across the room and poured himself a drink”. Martin wanted original expression—“Literature is a war against cliché,” he opined. Regardless of the method, I love literature, and have reawakened my love for the short story.
As time is compressed into God’s rectum—does anyone remember Sunday lie-ins?—we have to digest things in short bursts of dark matter. Litres of gin drunk from the corolla of a white Lilly. While sitting semi-catatonic on the train to work, I love to dip my proboscis into a yarn. Suddenly the steel walls of the train recede into psychedelic petals and sweets. Life is young again, bulging with innocence.
My former life was in Glasgow—a city that throbs with drama and pathos—but now I am an ex-patriot in Perth, Western Australia. A denizen of sun and sand. I like to draw on my former existence—dissecting the humour and dun skies that engulfed me back then—a stain on the billowing Saltire. Nostalgia minus the white-knotted hanky. I can’t escape its grotesque tractor beam. Freud has his grubby paws all over my subconscious, I’m afraid. My stories are inspired by childhood friends, work colleagues, ninnies and all manner of half-forgotten memories and buried trauma. Shouldn’t that be the way? Satire—described by some as militant humour—is my scalpel. Humour is my clamp.
In my new hometown of Perth, Australia, the scene is burgeoning with some dab hands. The WA mining boom has attracted the gaze of the world’s media and propelled Perth writers into the limelight; especially those who write about rapacity and greed. The Guardian recently did a feature on WA crime writers:
David Whish-Wilson (Line of Sight) and Alan Carter are some of the best exponents of “WA Noir”. They like to expose the criminal underbelly that lurks under the endless blue skies and beaches. I have waxed about them both in the independent Perth newspaper I write for—a small, but annoying little publication. Talking of worthy publications, I’m glad Lit Bits is the championing the short story form. Like chemical weapons, the short story has become fashionable again, and quite rightly so. It is a stubborn little shit that refuses to go away, or disappoint.