1 The constraints: 1) No more than
one hour. 2) No more than 20 lines.
The result ? Genius or Not.

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15 December 2010

By Anthony Banks | 2010 December 15

It's been a while since I've had any desire to write. Finding a new job – the whole process of applications, interviews, negotiations – has left me feeling drained, and seeing as I am a writer who writes in his 'free time', I have felt unable to do anything other than loaf around in what would ordinarily be my 'writing time'.         

Anyway I had my final interview for the new job last week, and within days the desire returned. Specifically, it returned while I was reading the opening chapter of The Heat of the Day be Elizabeth Bowen (I might add that during the stressful period I had found myself unable to read anything other than the sports pages). This chapter gave rise to a reading sensation that I do not believe I have experienced before: by describing action taking place in a location that I myself know intimately, and to which many of my own memories are linked, indeed a place in which I have set some of my own fiction, this chapter gave me the sense of two narratives running through my consciousness simultaneously. In one, Bowen's, a young woman encounters an older man at a concert in Regent's Park open air theatre, becomes fascinated by him and, when he leaves, follows him through the park (flashbacks reveal that she had carousing with a different chap a little earlier in the park, an airman who had left disgruntled when he realised she had no intention of giving him any). The other, mine, consisted of autobiographical fragments. Going to see Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest in the open air theatre when I was a sixth form student – visits that seem charged with sexual tension as they were joint visits with a girl's school; years later and for a period of over two years, walking past the bandstand on the way to work, learning that the IRA had once blown it up (along with the band unfortunate enough to have been playing on it at the time); meeting my wife there on summer evenings in those pre-parenthood days; after-work kick-abouts with the keepers from London Zoo...         

Would anyone be interested in compiling anthologies of fiction organised not by theme, era or author, but by place, so that one might be able to induce such reading experiences at will?  

15 December 2010 It's been a while since I've had any desire to write. Finding a new job – the whole process of applications, interviews, negotiations – has left me feeling drained, and seeing as I am a writer who writes in his 'free time', I have felt unable to do anything other than loaf around in what would ordinarily be my 'writing time'. Anyway I had my final interview for the new job last week, and within days the desire returned. Specifically, it returned while I was reading the opening chapter of The Heat of the Day be Elizabeth Bowen (I might add that during the stressful period I had found myself unable to read anything other than the sports pages). This chapter gave rise to a reading sensation that I do not believe I have experienced before: by describing action taking place in a location that I myself know intimately, and to which many of my own memories are linked, indeed a place in which I have set some of my own fiction, this chapter gave me the sense of two narratives running through my consciousness simultaneously. In one, Bowen's, a young woman encounters an older man at a concert in Regent's Park open air theatre, becomes fascinated by him and, when he leaves, follows him through the park (flashbacks reveal that she had carousing with a different chap a little earlier in the park, an airman who had left disgruntled when he realised she had no intention of giving him any). The other, mine, consisted of autobiographical fragments. Going to see Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest in the open air theatre when I was a sixth form student – visits that seem charged with sexual tension as they 15 December 2010   It's been a while since I've had any desire to write. Finding a new job – the whole process of applications, interviews, negotiations – has left me feeling drained, and seeing as I am a writer who writes in his 'free time', I have felt unable to do anything other than loaf around in what would ordinarily be my 'writing time'.          Anyway I had my final interview for the new job last week, and within days the desire returned. Specifically, it returned while I was reading the opening chapter of The Heat of the Day be Elizabeth Bowen (I might add that during the stressful period I had found myself unable to read anything other than the sports pages). This chapter gave rise to a reading sensation that I do not believe I have experienced before: by describing action taking place in a location that I myself know intimately, and to which many of my own memories are linked, indeed a place in which I have set some of my own fiction, this chapter gave me the sense of two narratives running through my consciousness simultaneously. In one, Bowen's, a young woman encounters an older man at a concert in Regent's Park open air theatre, becomes fascinated by him and, when he leaves, follows him through the park (flashbacks reveal that she had carousing with a different chap a little earlier in the park, an airman who had left disgruntled when he realised she had no intention of giving him any). The other, mine, consisted of autobiographical fragments. Going to see Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest in the open air theatre when I was a sixth form student – visits that seem charged with sexual tension as they were joint visits with a girl's school; years later and for a period of over two years, walking past the bandstand on the way to work, learning that the IRA had once blown it up (along with the band unfortunate enough to have been playing on it at the time); meeting my wife there on summer evenings in those pre-parenthood days; after-work kick-abouts with the keepers from London Zoo...          Would anyone be interested in compiling anthologies of fiction organised not by theme, era or author, but by place, so that one might be able to induce such reading experiences at will?   Elizabeth Bowen, reading, memory, writingwere joint visits with a girl's school; years later and for a period of over two years, walking past the bandstand on the way to work, learning that the IRA had once blown it up (along with the band unfortunate enough to have been playing on it at the time); meeting my wife there on summer evenings in those pre-parenthood days; after-work kick-abouts with the keepers from London Zoo... Would anyone be interested in compiling anthologies of fiction organised not by theme, era or author, but by place, so that one might be able to induce such reading experiences at will? Elizabeth Bowen, reading, memory, writing

Elizabeth Bowen, Writing, Reading, Memory

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