The herding call

Photo: Julie Travis

Photo: Julie Travis

I’ve now completed the first draft of Dark Fire and am over 1,000 words into a new story, Parasomnia. I’m finding it difficult to not write at the moment, despite my feelings of isolation as a writer. I suspect a great help has been the March 2016 issue of Fortean Times, a magazine I used to read regularly. This particular issue has a feature on the Occult and Fortean sides of David Bowie’s work and a piece on J G Ballard’s fascination with Ronald Reagun in the late 1960s and how controversial his mock psychological study, Why I Want To Fuck Ronald Reagun was when it first appeared in print. It’s another reminder of how much of an influence Ballard has been to my writing, especially when I first began in the early 1990s. I once wrote a mock airline handbook on how passengers should approach plane crashes, which sadly is long lost on a floppy disk somewhere. ‘Parasomnia’, relates to that early work in some respects, although I doubt if Ballard’s influence is obvious in the story. I want it to be a companion piece to Bedlam’s Way, a very early story of mine which was originally selected to appear in a fiction supplement in the New Statesman magazine. The supplement never appeared (with, of course, no explanation from anyone as to why) but the story was published in Saccade magazine in around 1996.

As well as using methods to get into a particular headspace for the purposes of writing, I’m finding that what I’m writing – and when reading older pieces of my fiction – is inducing strange headspaces, too. Does that mean I’m successful/a ‘good artist’? Good art, after all, is about accurately portraying whatever it is the artist wants to portray. Additionally, I’m wondering whether words have the potential to act like a Sigil, when put together in a certain order under certain conditions. At their best, I suspect so, although time will tell whether my own work achieves that in anyone other than myself.

All images and text ©Julie Travis

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2 thoughts on “The herding call

  1. Hey, finally managed to get online! Loved this post, wanted to respond/vibe out to : “Good art, after all, is about accurately portraying whatever it is the artist wants to portray.”
    Is this really true though? Once art is released from the bosom/crotch/wherever of the artist, it moves from objective to subjective – it becomes what the recipients need it to be at the specific point in time that they experience it, whether the artist intended it that way or not at the time they made it.
    Part of what makes creativity so dangerous is the lack of control one has over one’s creations, once they’re released out into the wild. Which should never stop us from creating! Keep on writing, friend.

    • Good point, Utherben – and a lot of artistes have been terribly misunderstood over the years. I’m certainly happier when musicians put notes on their album covers and painters put notes by their work. Not to tell me how to feel about it, but to give the piece some context. I’ll have to think on about what the ‘good art’ thing…

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