lives in Sydney and has also lived in London and Paris. Apart from
English he speaks French and Italian - and survival German. He has
written screenplays, a novel, My Wife, My Job, My Shoes, and a collection of stories, Corporate. His short fiction has been published in Canada, the UK, Ireland, and Australia.
with Guy Cranswick
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Guy Cranswick: This collection, Corporate
goes back a while. Like many writers I began with some ideas and then
found I could not pursue them further, or I found other approaches as I
was writing. So, the plan of a collection was put aside for long
stretches but never over. The stories came out at various times and
most of them are quite long, over six thousand words, which added
another consideration. I had wanted to write fully developed stories,
that is with a plot and a story, but the short fiction market mostly
accepts pieces under two thousand words.
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
very clearly when it formed in my mind. I wanted to give it a theme: of
the body; the body in its many forms, which is one of the reasons it’s
called Corporate. It’s
not literally developed, except in two or three stories about the body,
but the idea of the body is a sublimated theme. One story, called Being,
has an unnamed narrator tell his life story and it becomes clearer that
he has lived for over five hundred years as he recounts a series of
stories from his life, starting as a young Italian merchant in the
Renaissance until he is an aged recluse living in a ghost town on the
edge of a desert.
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
choice I made on the basis that they appealed to me, that they were
strong and interesting to read through and that in combination there
was a variety that may hold the interest of a reader. On the order of
the stories: this was simpler to do, I had an idea from reading other
anthologies and adapting to my own; but I also have to say, it was
largely influenced from music and from albums. That explains the
variety I hope. The stories become more complex and perhaps darker to
some degree, as one goes through the anthology.
does the word "story"
mean to you?
Something that is open and flexible to all sorts of permutations. Like
a song, it can actually be malleable. For me the best aspect of the
story, as compared to a novel, is that it’s possible to be abstract, to
use forms and language that may not be possible in a longer plotted
work. They may not necessarily be experimental but do open
possibilities to a writer; and make the writing stimulating.
Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?
No I don’t, not when I write. I write what seems like a good idea to me
and one which has enough depth or interest to it. I want to know that
it’s worth writing and by extension it may be worth reading.
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection,
anything at all?
reactions I have had so far are what I might have hoped for. The range
of stories, the styles explored have intrigued and stayed with some
readers. I like hearing the responses: they’re so different from each
person. As the writer I start with my intentions and those are not the
same as the interpretations from readers. It’s fascinating. I am
pleased to hear that people find the stories resonate, that they
linger, and are memorable.
it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
A combination of excitement, high anxiety and
responsibility. Putting the work out there has been the objective
for a while and then you hope its good and that people like them.
What are you working on now?
GC: I am finishing my second collection of fiction. It’s called How it all began How it all ended
and comprises stories I have written over the last three to four years.
About half the stories have been published internationally and I am
really looking forward to bringing it all together in one book.
the three most recent short story collections you've read?
like to re-read and rediscover, so the Kundera and Moravia are known
pleasures. Laughable Loves, Milan Kundera. Roman Tales, Albert Moravia,
Selected Short Stories of William Faulkner