j-walker James Walker answers questions about the background to his story collection The Three and a Half Day Parent, about parenting in general and about Brian Clough.

Q: The stories featured in The Three and a¬†Half Day Parent are clearly drawn from a distinctive slice of life experience, what’s the back-story to the collection?

A: The background is simple. I’ve been married, I’ve been divorced, and I have a child. I attempted to be a weekend father for a couple of months but couldn’t bear it. Hanging about parks, cinema’s, and Wacky Warehouse’s on a Saturday looking at other men who have the same look of resignation in their eyes is absolutely demoralising. So I quit my job and went to University which allowed me to have equal access, hence the ‘three and a half day parent’. Granted I still go to the park, cinema and Wacky Warehouse but I can do it after school or in the week without feeling the stigma which comes on a Saturday and Sunday. Fortunately my son’s mother and I both love him dearly and although we couldn’t keep up our childhood romance, there was no way that either of us wanted to deprive the other of the pleasure of being a parent. Unfortunately this is not the case with everyone and so I guess that was one of the reasons that inspired me to write. I feel very strongly about causes such as Fathers for Justice and writing about the emotional conflicts involved in ‘modern’ relationships is one way in which I hope to get across the male view. Post-war British society has been dominated by identity politics which quite rightly, has seen females negotiate traditional male space – particularly in the public sphere. By the same logic it is only natural that males should be allowed similar flexibility with space traditionally defined as female. These stories are an attempt to deal with the dislocation which comes about through such transformations.

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