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A Brief Encounter with @CraigWallwork & Crabtree #FourthWallFriday

I am so excited to have today’s guest here! I discovered him through a tour and fell in love with his writing. Dark comedies are awesome and really hard to pull off but Craig manages to really knock it out of the ballpark! I managed to talk him into going down and having a discussion with his antagonistic protagonist. I think my comment speaks for the man himself, Crabtree that is!

“The Sound of Loneliness is the kind of book you need a smoky glass of whiskey with a cigar back wearing my Hus’  boxers (pronounced Huz) and a wife beater with my killer fedora I bought to watch Noir movies in.” my April 20, 2013 review 

A Brief Encounter

The Flemish WeaverDo you have a tradition when you visit your hometown? Maybe it’s watching a film with a friend you haven’t seen for a while, or visiting a special place that meant something to you when you were growing up? My tradition is to go for a drink with my father in his favourite pub, The Flemish Weaver. It isn’t a very nice pub. It’s quite run down, dank and dark. There has been a smoking ban in public places for well over half a decade, but the carpets still reek of cigarettes and the upholstery of many a careless hand. But, it is a place I can be with him for an hour or so without distraction, to share stories of our past, the future of my employment, and the current lethargy, stress and joy brought on by being a parent. It is a tradition I enjoy, and is never marred by incident. The regulars leave us alone, and if they do interject, it is merely to acknowledge my presence and to offer their hand. My father is well respected, and so by default, I am respected too. That is a tradition in itself, and one rarely violated. That was until about a year ago.

Like creatures of habit, my father and I retired to a small table in the corner of the room after purchasing our drinks. We sat for a spell, sipping, engaging in conversation that mostly revolved around my daughter. There was talk too of father’s luck on the horses, which always ends with more tragedy than a Greek play. A lull presented itself and I took the chance to mention a recent publishing credit, a short story placed at a respectable

journal. My father does not understand the literary world. He is not a well-read man. But he knows enough to understand it’s not an easy business to be in. He congratulated me, in his typical subtle way, never offering more, or less, than clambering of horary eyebrows and satisfied smile. He then pointed toward the opposite side of the room where a young man sat drinking alone. My father informed me that the man was a writer too. I took another look at him: upon the chair sat a bag of bones with a face shaped by the elements. He certainly reminded me of a writer, but not one from this decade, or the last. I asked my father if he remembered the title of the man’s book, but he didn’t. He then shouted to the man, motioning him over with his hand.

Ask him yourself,” he said.

The Flemish Weaver

I watched as the skinny man approached with gait hindered by some invisible weight pressing upon his shoulders. He was dressed by Oxfam, a chaotic and mismatching attire made threadbare by at least three other people before him. His shoes appeared oversized too; the sides showing scuff marks and rivulets of wear. There was suspicion in his eyes, and a hint of relief too, as though the prospect of another five minutes in his own company would have been the end of him. He nodded to my father, but did not acknowledge me.

This is my son, Craig,” my father said addressing him. “Tell him where he can read some of your stuff.”

photo3The statement fuddled the man. I can only assume having his beloved work referred to as ‘stuff’ had irked him. I tried to diffuse the situation by offering my hand, but he looked at it with contempt

You a reading man?” he asked with a low and sombre tone.

My father answered by telling him I was a writer. Suspicion in the man’s eyes gave way to a mischievous glare that left me feeling dirty.

The man sat down next to me, finished the dregs from his pint and said, “Buy us another, and I’ll tell you about my work.”

I thought he was joking, and laughed a little, but neither my father nor the man joined me.

I’m not that interested,” I told him, and an uncomfortable silence presented itself.

My father offered to buy the man a drink.

Are you published?” the man asked me, after my father left to retrieve the drinks.

I am.

“Novels?

And a short story collection.

Beat.

“I find most writers are too eager to be published. The manuscript is like the new virginity; they wish to lose it to the first person willing to show interest, regardless of the consequence.

I sensed he had used that line before.

CraigIsn’t that the goal, to be published?” I asked.

Are you a hack?

A hack?

Yes, you know, a pen for hire, someone who churns out mediocre works for cash?

I know what a hack is, and no. I write stories that interest me, stories that are challenging but hopefully engaging to others too.”

I have a story.

Oh.

Yes. It’s a great story. It’s about love, forlorn. Busting at the seams with pathos. Do you know what pathos means?

Yep

And forlorn?

What’s it’s called?

Love is a Gazelle.

What journal is it with?

The Paris Review!

Really? Wow. That’s great. I’m too nervous to even send them anything.

Well, that’s clearly where you and I are different. I use fear to motivate me, whereas you are held back by doubt.”

How long did it take them to accept the story?

It’s been with them for two hundred and fifty-six days.

You mean they haven’t accepted it yet?

The Flemish WeaverNo. What gave you that idea?

You told me it was with The Paris Review.

It is. And it won’t be long now until they accept it.

Do you work?

I’m a biographer of life; a man whose tools are minutes, and hours, and what I render to the page is beauty beyond measure!

That sounds like a pretentious way of saying you’re unemployed,” I replied, dryly.

I’m going through a transitional period in my life.

Meaning?

Meaning, you have to suffer for art, and the suffering I’m undergoing now will allow me to write the perfect novel. Then I will be remembered.

And that’s what you want, to be remembered?

Isn’t that what the goal of every great writer?

At this point my father returned with the drinks. He placed them on the table and looked at us both with a smile bent by uncertainty.

Finding you have a lot in common?” he asked us both.

I looked at my father and shrugged. The man then took his drink and stood up. He didn’t thank my father for the pint, nor did he offer anything else about his writing. His parting comment was only to exemplify the brooding arrogance I had gleaned from the short conversation I had with him.

Why suffer if you will never be remembered?

And with that he returned to his seat, lost to the contents of his pint. After a suitable amount of time had gone by, I asked my father for the man’s name, considering no formal introduction had taken place. My father chewed on this for a moment before replying earnestly, “I don’t remember.

cyberpunkdivider

Craig Wallwork lives in West Yorkshire, England. He is an artist, filmmaker and writer. His short stories have appeared in many publications in the US and the UK. He is the author of the short story collection Quintessence of Dust, and the novels To Die Upon a Kiss and The Sound of Loneliness. Craig is also the fiction editor at Menacing Hedge Magazine.

Craig Wallwork

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 The Sound of Loneliness

Manchester in 1991 is a town suffering under the weight of high unemployment and massive government budgetary deficits that is plunging the UK into a recession.

To Daniel Crabtree, a struggling writer, it is the backcloth to his first novel, one that will see him become a famous published author. Living off mostly water and flour, Daniel has embraced penury into his life under the mistaken belief that many young artists have: one needs to suffer for success in art. But Daniel is a terrible writer. In the three years since signing on the dole, of every morning chastising his Irish singing neighbour for waking him from his sleep, and scrounging food from his close friend Henry Soperton, Daniel Crabtree has produced one short story. His heart is bereft of words as much as his pockets are of money.

The Sound of Loneliness is a story of love, and how a poor starving man chasing a dream came to the understanding that amidst the clamour of life, the sound of loneliness is the most deafening of all.

– Pick up your copy of this Literary/ Urban Life/ Black Comedy today –

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble.

Perfect Edge LogoPerfect Edge Books was founded in late 2011 to unite authors whose books weren’t “obviously” commercial. Our books tend to sit in various genres all at once: literary fiction, satire, neo-noir, sci-fi, experimental prose. We believe that literary doesn’t have to mean difficult, and that difficult doesn’t just mean pointless. We prefer to cultivate a word-of-mouth approach to marketing, and keep production as simple as we can. Learn more at www.PerfectEdgeBooks.com.

 

Fourth-Wall Friday

Ever wonder what happens if you were to break into your world build and sit down and have a beer with your main characters? I think I would love to have tea with Jane Eyre, or discuss the best way to take care of vampires with Jane Yellowstone…maybe having Susie Shotgun take me out for some Angels Tears…

Interested in being part of Cabin Goddess’ Fourth-Wall Friday? I will soon be opening up my schedule from July through Christmas and have a few limited reserved Friday’s for special Fourth-Wall Friday spots (Sign ups for September – December 2013), such as book releases and tours. Contact me at [email protected] for more info. I hope everyone (authors and readers alike) takes time peruse the archives and find out just what other authors have done and enjoy a lot of amazing world builds!

Fourth-Wall FridayAllow yourself as an author to open up a new avenue of sharing your AUTHOR PERSONA & WORLD BUILD in a unique and creative fashion.. Just take a chance, write fluidly and from within that “place” you hangout at with your muse. Or perhaps walk in the door, tuck into a corner & watch your characters get into trouble before you take a chance and talk to them…

 

3 Comments

  1. Thanks for putting this up, Kriss. Daniel will be mortified when he finds out!

  2. Great post! What a terrific writing style.

  3. love, love, love dark comedies. Thanks Kriss and Craig.

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