|This is the better half of aegiandyad from the 'Mrs aegian' folder|
|The immortal sorceress who plays a thousand parts, Ldedge Y'Breq, The Lady Sharrow, Emma Peel, Mrs Dawlish and many others.|
Recently 'aegian of the FT', who is Mrs a*, was honoured by 'hard copy' publication of several comments originally published online under articles in the FT.
These appear in Before The Collapse by Cathal Haughian. www.beforethecollapse.com .
This book gathers together the informally expressed thoughts of those who can clearly see the need for change in the corporate driven, agnostic, capitalist, supposedly democratic societies of this world. This need is set to become increasingly urgent in the coming three decades; which is not all that long.
We are passionate artists and art lovers with wide ranging tastes and interests. Our long range project is the creation of 'aegian' as an aesthetic hermaphrodite, trying to express the many facets of their being. It has since emerged that we are a couple with four grown up children each of whom has contributed to this joint enterprise
While his better half prefers to remain mysterious and spends most of her time writing our journal entries, Mr A admits to having a London degree in Botany & Zoology and owning a succession of film and digital cameras. I am the man behind the lens, so there may not be many images of me submitted. We love beauty and I search for it amongst the mundane backgrounds of everyday reality as well as at fabulous gardens like the ones seen in some gallery pictures. We correspond with the Guardian as well as the Financial Times.
There will be no puckish, looped video 'web cam'; no 'fake' ID. If you want to see picture's, then this
is Mrs a*. This is a portrait after the manner of the old masters and this was recently taken, straight from the camera.
Mr a*s portraits are vanishingly rare. Here is one mocked up from an old frame of 'film' , and a much more recently taken but wildly over processed one "Now, my name isn't Harry, but names change so often in this business that I couldn't be sure there hadn't been a time when it might have been." [the REAL 'Harry Palmer'; anonymous, insolent, insubordunate spy from Burnley, as found in The IPCRESS File by Len Deighton; Penguin Books 1962]
Ruthless editing is the second step towards producing timeless prose. It takes many years for writers to understand that their hard graft is sometimes best excised. Only long experience can wean a writer off valuing their work too highly in order to see it for what it really is - a flaccid set of sentences that do not add to the plot or to keeping the reader's attention.
Bad editing comes as part of today's malaise - namely the lack of conviction in what the writer is trying to put across. Part of the blame comes from the rise of genre fiction, which while usually written quite tightly to restrictive rules, unfortunately does not nurture the author's authentic vision or style. If an author cannot believe in the product they are dredging up out of their inner struggles or after years of hard research, the reader equally will not enjoy or become engrossed in the finished product.
The first rule of genre writing is to write from the heart but how is this possible when novels usually follow plot devices and stylistic limitations which impede authenticity? Yet this is what is demanded today - hackneyed plots, cardboard characters interracting in ways that would force a rational reader to guffaw at the hyped, so called dynamism of these books, whether they are sex romances, SF, thrillers, westerns, thick ear detection, police procedurals, vampires, sword and sorcery fantasy or recycled legends. This list indicates why we are in this parlous state. How can anyone seriously bend their talents to many of these types of books of which millions are printed every year?
Serious novels have also been stymied by the two curses of modern publishing. The editing is frequently arbitrary or minimal and above all the novels lack soul or heart. Very few novelists are now able to create believable characters in whom readers can be interested. When the fundamental dynamic of a book is so lacking even editing cannot save it. The best solution is binning the script and starting again. But that would be to miss out on the glamour and reward of attempting to reach best sellerdom. All hail the best seller. Over the course of a century it has managed to reduce literature to monetary and celebrity status.
What is the first step towards producing worthwhile texts? Belief in a meaningful universe where truth, honour, goodness and challenge still matter. No hero can grip a reader's mind unless the story which brings them into being engrosses the reader, opening the door to a world the reader recognises as being realistic, challenging, intriguing and worth entering.