On the Slow Writing Movement

Eva Orúe, “Slowhand es un artista, pero no (siempre) el que crees,” infoLibre 19 March 2017:

Cierto es que escribir no es lo que era. Trabajar con ordenadores y procesadores de texto permite a los autores juntar palabras más rápido que nunca, e Internet les brinda la oportunidad de publicar de manera instantánea, sin esperar a que un editor dé el plácet a tu texto. Consecuencia de lo cual es, sostiene el escritor Andrew Gallix, que lo que hoy pasa por narrativa publicable, “hace sólo unos años habría sido considerado si acaso como un borrador temprano”. De ahí que su propuesta de crear un Slow Writing Movement (SWM) a imagen (literaria) del fenómeno Slow Food, lanzada medio en serio medio en broma, quizá merezca una nueva oportunidad.

Doomed Quest

Ira Solomatina, “Fashion’s History of the Patch,” Sleek 4 August 2016:

The first sub-culture to subvert the patch was the hippies in the 1960s, whose patchwork clothes were laden with references to ethnic styles. However, it was the punks who really made it their own. As writer Andrew Gallix puts it, “The evolution of punk fashion was the doomed quest for authenticity” — hence why their bold DIY-aesthetic was opposed to all things conventional.

La Fayette Revisited

Erin Blakemore, “France’s Famous High School Exam Will Soon Feature Its First Woman Author,” Smithsonian 21 March 2017:

…But the novella isn’t La Fayette’s most famous work. That would be The Princess of Cleves, a dramatic novel that’s widely cited as France’s first historical novel. The book became a big deal in France again in 2009, when France’s then-president, Nicolas Sarkozy, mocked its inclusion on the civil service exam. As The Guardian‘s Andrew Gallix reported at the time, the president’s public hatred of the book turned it into a political symbol and short-lived bestseller.

Umbilical Words

Dear Mum,

I hope you have read my letter. The other one. The proper one. The one I could not write, because it cannot be written. Couched in an idiom only you and I understand. A mother tongue. Umbilical words that bind us for ever and ever. You alone can hear me mouth them.

Of the pain of being parted from you as a child, it says nothing, not least because that always went without saying. Being separated made us inseparable. In the other letter, this unspeakable pain speaks, though not in so many words. You alone can hear its mute howl. Mum’s the word.

For years, I could not sleep facing a wall. I had to face the door, through which I would be reunited with you. Returning for the holidays was always a homecoming. Even as an adult. I once spent my lunch break at Gare du Nord, simply to feel a little closer to you. Watching all those people boarding trains bound for my mother’s land.

You are my motherland. The only time I tried to tell you, on that warm summer night, you said I was drunk. That was by the potted olive tree.

As soon as I heard you were going, I caught the first train, but did not make it on time. I hope you sensed that I was on my way. That I was coming home to you.

You were already so cold when I kissed your forehead. Stone cold.

We always fail to talk about what we love. Someone else wrote that.

You dwell in me, just as I once dwelt in you. Someone else wrote that too.

Perhaps they were drunk.

Your son, who always loved you more than you could ever know,


Shapeless Nonsensical Things

Rachel Cusk, Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation, 2012

I remember from childhood how easy it was to imagine, how hard to create: the difference between what I could conceive of and what I could actually do was bewildering. In adulthood I have learned that to envisage is nothing: success is a hard currency, earned by actual excellence. The vision has to be externalised, and in the case of the cake it remains the prisoner of my imaginings. … Was it because the vision was mine that I was so careless with it? I see the same impatience sometimes when my children undertake something they can’t execute, a sort of disregard — almost contempt — for practicality, perhaps even for reality itself. What they like is what is in their head — how boring it is, how hard and intransigent, this plane on which their imaginings aren’t recognised, where their visions are translated into shapeless nonsensical things!