Damien G Walters – Compartment

Compartment came out of the place where I grew up, a sink estate just south of London. I tried going back there a few years ago. As I was walking down the road to get there my heart started racing and my legs went soft and then when I got there it was just a place like any number of places I can walk through without any reaction. In my memories though, the place and the people have become mythic – it’s that mythic quality that I wanted to look at while I was writing Compartment.

Q: The three part story is two part apology joined together with one long paragraph that paints a picture of rot, decay, anger and frustration. Is this myth something that haunts you? Who is apologising, to whom and for what reason?

A: Haunting is an interesting way to look at it. We all haunt ourselves, we all sit in our memories of the past. The memories die over time and instead you are left with the memories of memories. That’s when things become mythic and the mundane becomes spectacular.

To begin with  the apology really isn’t anything of the kind. It’s an accusation cloaked in an apology. I’m unapologetically angry about poverty and deprivation. By the end the apology is an expression of guilt. I left the world of Compartment a long time ago and now I can look back on it and write about it and make myself heard. Not everybody gets that chance.

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