pippa-griffin-newPippa GriffinCrush
I’m interested in the ideas of perceptions and the self and how what you see, hear, think and experience isn’t necessarily how it is. I wanted to write a story which clashed ideas of ‘fiction’ and ‘reality’ and how, even with the passing of time, these two things can be hard to reconcile. I wrote the first draft of ‘Crush’ during a two-week writing retreat in Devon. I was flicking through my notebooks and found notes for a story about a crush, and there was something there niggling at me, so I thought I’d better write it. I wrote the story quickly – ideas for Frances’s experiences coming quicker than I could write them down, memories of my own childhood crushes and how they felt never far away. Within two sentences I’d switched from a first person narrative to second person. It wasn’t a conscious point of view decision, it just started coming out this way and it felt right. Of course, looking back, I think second person reflects exactly the way Frances feels about the experience: slightly removed from herself, an experience which could happen to anyone. I finished the first draft in just a few hours which is very unusual for me, although I didn’t write the opening few paragraphs until I returned to London. I was waiting for a train at London Bridge, when the first line came to me and it was only then that I knew David was dead and this is why Frances is able to revisit her experience.

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chris-hillChris HillSo Which is the Way From Here
When I wrote this story I was going through a serious Carver phase and wanted to see if I could do what he did – not the alcoholism, depression and early death part obviously – just the part where he takes deceptively simple stories of everyday people and manages to invest them with an incredible emotional wallop. It’s like a magic trick – he creeps up on you – one minute you’re fine and the next he can actually make you cry, with just a single phrase, and leave you thinking ‘How did he do that? Where did those feelings come from?’ I can’t do that – not even close, but this was one of my attempts to get inside his head.

The main action in this story – a man hitting a sheep over the head with a rock to put it out of its misery – was something which happened to a photographer friend of mine years ago. He got spotted in the act, his actions were misinterpreted and he had to explain himself to the police. It was told round the newspaper office as an amusing story – demonstrating what an idiot the guy was, but I always thought there was a tragic side to it. He had been trying to do the right thing – but what he intended as kindness was taken for cruelty and stupidity.

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