Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Here, as promised, are some paragraphs and snips from DM Fraser’s work that I spent my Sunday night enjoying.

This para is from his story Eschatology.

Friday evening downtown: the place should have been packed with husbands killing the pain while their wives were out looting department stores: but now husbands retreat instead to lectures on Fiscal Responsibility, Chinese Architecture Through the Ages, Aggressive Childcare. The wives, bankrupt, meet in covens for belly-dancing therapy at six, paragynecology at eight, Kung Fu at ten. After that it’s too late for mere amusement. Couples night at the Eschatology Centre begins at dawn, and someone has got to get up early to feed the Dobermans. Dobermen?

It was the opening line that struck me in that para. How Fraser creates place without referring to any physical description or dropping road names or lavish layering of trees and buildings. I’ve constantly been trying to resolve the construction of place or setting in prose as a reader and a writer. Writers display for us his/her potent ability to paint a scene. Paintbrush over paint. Ostentatiousness over bricks agus mortar. I’m quite interested as a reader in seeing place manifest through the behaviour of the people in it since lives are lived within places, they are not lived “at” or “toward” places so the external construction of place in parallel to people seems odd.

I recently took part in a poetry salon which was both stimulating and vexing in equal amounts. At times the language in the room would become dominated or hijacked by academic terms: the assumption being that everyone present spoke that language. The reality being several of us in the room did not. Tho’ when I requested meanings generally people were obliging.

The main activity involved a reading by a poet, a response to that poet’s work by another poet, in the form of a written piece and then discussion followed by responses, written or whatever from the participants. So there was a great deal of writing out from or back to a particular work. In the course of these exchanges I realized I am not particularly compelled by this act of writing to and from. I found aspects of this corresponding engaging as a listener. But as a writer I find myself compelled to write into the piece I am writing. That the piece would actually write further and further into itself. I can see several disadvantages to this because the piece can only engage with it’s own internal dynamic and rhythm and it’s a much more singular and lonelier approach.

There was a camaraderie around “response” that is impossible when you’re in a tunnel. You’re only hope maybe the odd sandhog who pops a head up along the way and says how’re ya doing there, it’s shite but on you go now.

Curiously though in discovering and reading Fraser’s work I find the stories I’ve read follow this. They just unwind and unwind on their own internal turf.

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