does the word "story"
mean to you?
That’s a deceptively simple question. I was asked a similarly
straightforward question by my friend Charlie Williams for a one-shot
interview on his blog. He asked a lot of writers the same question and
achieved his objective of getting a rich and varied set of responses.
Some were one or two word answers and some were half a page, but they
were all absolutely right in their own way. I’ll include what he asked,
and what I said, as part of the answer to your question:
Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?
"When it's going well, what does writing feel like for you?"
am an utterly commonplace man. I lack drive and any ability to lift me
much beyond the merely average. I can be cowardly and irritable and
isolative and proud. I've never been able to commit to much and tend
towards a self-indulgent existential futility. It's a real effort to do
things. But. When I write; when it takes off: I'm a fucking god.
I can’t do that if there’s no story. I can’t take off without one.
Stories give me a chance to get in amongst words, to kick them about
and hold them up to the light. When the story takes off, when it starts
that magical accumulation of pace and momentum then something profound
and unstoppable happens. I’m able to transcend my mundane,
self-limiting existence and it’s like riding a very clean, rarefied
trip from a spotless, uncut drug.
Over the years I’ve been very lucky to have a lot of nice people say
kind things about my stuff. Many of them have become my friends and
continue to support and guide me as I continue to write. So I guess I
write for them, or in the hope of pleasing them at least.
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection,
anything at all?
PM: Without sounding too needy, the one thing you really want to ask is, did you enjoy it? Or, conversely, was it shit?
it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
It’s a great feeling. Thrilling. My good friend Roy Gray, who works
tirelessly and selflessly for TTA Press, always makes a point of coming
up to me at a convention, or emailing me after he’s been on one of his
trips, to tell me how it’s doing. "Sold another one, Paul,”"he’ll say.
What are you working on now?
I’ve just finished a 20,000 word novella called Dogs With Their Eyes
Shut. So I’m tidying that up at the moment. And I’ve got a few other
pieces in various stages of completion.