How we approach a short story, any story, influences our interaction with the text, where pre-reading judgements affect the intercourse between the author and reader. My approach to this collection was of a reader expecting to notice characteristics of the archetypal short story. As I immersed myself into the act of reading, I experienced subtle and then significant movement from being resistant to being enticed by the author’s voice and style.
This poem introduces the character Ichabod Storm Trouper, a composite personification of Revolutionary War era America with 1970s George Lucas blockbusterisation of Hollywood. He appears throughout the collection of poems California Sweet, someday forthcoming, in which this poem is a part of.
As a dual citizen of dual hemispheres, you have two homes and two sets of seasons that directly oppose one another. You pause to think whenever you write the month because it’s cool in July and hot in December and you’ve lost yourself a little, in everything you’ve gained… When you had bought the DNA analysis package, you found such a collage of peoples, your genomes revealed spirals of passports. You saw people who did not stay put, whose songs and love affairs laced the planet.
What do our choices (our likes) – as writers now, as makers – say, if anything, about how we see the world? In other words, do preferences around style speak to the ontologies to which we subscribe, knowingly or not? Does style (in the broadest sense here) betray our most pressing existential worries, our particular way of squirming and daring? And, as an upshot, does what we experience as the spoken or unspoken rules of writing (or of particular writing enclaves and positions on writing) have anything to do with power and politics?
What did Christina Stead see when, in 1930, she left Paris – largely to avoid meeting the mother-in-law of her de-facto partner, William Blech, who, awkwardly, was married to someone else – for Salzburg, Austria, in order to attend a festival devoted to the work of Mozart, that city’s most famous son? The Salzburg Tales, published four years later, was based largely on her time there, and that book’s first word discloses to us in terms that could not be more literal what Stead saw when she arrived: ‘Salzburg’.
While my generation grew up with 50 choices in the yoghurt aisle and encouragement of our individuality and personal freedom, we also grew up with the message of Disney films and romcoms and every manner of heteronormative texts which promised a particular ideal, that one day you would make the choice and would commit fully and become everything to one other person.
Comic books, above all, trade in a kind of closed door policy – the long unknowable road of past narrative, which at this point in comic book history resembles a mirror now shattered into millions of shards. Back stories, alternate histories, side issues, spinoffs, retcons. At some point when writing anything like this there’s always a question you ask yourself: how much comic book lore do I discuss?
Neuroscientists have recently argued that when we remember something, we’re not recalling the original event, but the last time we remembered it. Each remembrance is an extra level of remove, spinning us further away from our actual lived experience. Eventually, what we remember might very well not resemble the experience at all… Within this framework, there are clear and understandable reasons why we remember things differently to those around us, aside from subjective experience. But how does this work when we’re referring back to solid ‘evidence’ while doing the remembering?