Monday, April 16, 2007

The Interview with the Postgraduate: Part 1

I will split my account of the interview with the postgraduate Kennie Pome into two parts, which I will entitle Part 1 and Part 2 for ease of understanding ('Part 1' being the first part of the interview, and 'Part 2' being the second). Doing so will keep my diary entries shorter so that the reader will not be discouraged by reams of text. As I said yesterday, the postgraduate Kennie Pome informed me that electronic diaries, or 'blogs' as he insisted on calling them, are typically read by jaded and largely uninterested readers, who will not be persuaded to invest any time in reading unless they are 'hooked' by bite-sized chunklets of punchy text and attractive images. I have therefore endeavoured to adopt such a template in order to keep my readers interested. Thus, being studious of brevity, I will refrain from elaboration and continue with my account of the interview.

I cannot remember our conversation verbatim, but I will do my best to recount it exactly as I recall it. I believe I did a very convincing job of presenting myself as an author and hope you will agree.

Kennie Pome: First of all, thank you for agreeing to this interview. I have enjoyed reading your blog fiction. Let's start with a few basic questions about yourself and the nuts and bolts of your blog. What's your name?

Me: Horton Carew. Can I confirm that I will be getting £5.00 for this interview?

Kennie Pome: Yes, you'll get £5.00. But I'd prefer you to conduct this interview 'out of character'. This is serious academic research I'm doing, not a bit of fluff for the gutter press.

Me: [panicking, for I had forgotten that I was supposed to be playing a part, so distracted was I by the lemon muffin] Of course. My name is Steve M. R. Tubbock.

Kennie Pome: Thanks Steve. Do you feel comfortable sharing any personal information with me? Where are you from? What do you work as? That sort of thing?

Me: I live in Broughty Ferry where I own a small gallery that exhibits and sells the work of local artists. My wife creates sculptures of seabirds using hewn driftwood and oyster shells, which are very popular. This brings in enough money to put me in the fortunate position of devoting myself entirely to my writing.

Kennie Pome: That's interesting. What other writing projects are you working on at the moment?

Me: None. I spend all my time writing Horton's Folly, which is of course fictional. As is the handsome and erudite character 'Horton Carew'.

Kennie Pome: That's very interesting. So how long do you spend on each blog entry then?

Me: It varies. I never spend less than eight hours per entry, sometimes more if there's a lot of research required. I write my first draft by midday, then usually scrap it and start again. This abandoning is a valuable part of the creative process though: nothing is wasted. I typically write 20,000 words in total before I begin self-editing. I describe this stage as 'prose decocting' wherein I 'boil down' the 20,000 words and extract the essence of the narrative, which is what I present to the reader.

Kennie Pome: That's interesting. Can you tell me what first drew you to use the blog genre for your fiction? Would you say that you understand that blogs and diaries are conventionally thought of as confessional discourses which present secrets and avowals to readers who consequently feel that they are privy to some naked and unvarnished truth, but that, in couching a fictional narrative in this genre, you chose to mock or subvert that notion to augment your overarching concerns, in common with other postmodernist writers of metafiction, with fracturing the atavistic concept of absolutes?

Me: Yes.

Kennie Pome: It's interesting you say that because that's exactly what I would have thought. Now, what about the character of Horton Carew? Where did he stem from? How did you develop him?

Me: Well, I think of Horton as a classical Hero figure. He is fiercely intelligent, knowledgable, strong, and brave. Throughout his everyday experiences, he always shines through as the perfect human being. Horton is a character that all women fall in love with and all men aspire to be.

Kennie Pome: [laughing, for some unknown reason] That's interesting. Typifies the biting sardonicism prevalent in your blog. But seriously, how did you develop Horton's character? He's a very strange individual I think it's fair to say!

Me: [confused, but deciding to play along so as not to jeopardize my £5.00] Oh yes, of course. Horton is a strange fellow. I wanted to create a strange character.

Kennie Pome: That's interesting.

Me: Is it?

Kennie Pome: I suppose not.

Here I will break off so that my readers do not feel overwhelmed with words. And as promised, here is a picture to attract the attention of new readers and casual browsers, so that I might hook them in:

Broughty Ferry beach


Wilf said...

Not very keen on the picture, more monkey stuff please.

Wilf said...

Mr Pome might be interested to know that Betsy Friedrich has completed a thesis on fic blogging and her blogspot (and thesis) can be accessed through Wilf's World.

Kennie Pome said...

Hey 'Wilf',
I'm liking your blog fiction too btw. Some real nice stuff there. Thanks for the heads up on Friedrich, but just so's you know, I am already aware of Friedrich's thesis but take issue with many of her points. Frinstance, my own postgraduate work suggests that she has underestimated the import of Horton's Folly.
Just for you, here's a very brief extract from my dissertation where I touch on Friedrich's criticism in relation to Horton's Folly
I dont want to publish too much of it because its a work in progress but hopefully it's clear enough where I'm going with it.
Kennie Pome

Jack said...

Great picture! I'm hooked.

Professor Jessica Flitey said...

Mr Pome,

I am writing a monograph on Mr Carew which you'll no doubt be aware of too. Before I began my research, I had him sign an exclusivety contract so he should not have allowed you to conduct an interview.

An easy mistake for a young academic, so I will not pursue this further provided you do not seek to publish your dissertation after you complete it.

It goes without saying that I disagree entirely with your take on the subject, but I wish you luck.

Blessings be,
Professor Jessica Flitey.

Kennie Pome said...

Nice tryProfessor Flitey, but you're fictional too. ;)
Your also a creation of Steve M. R. Tubbock. I admit I'm not sure which of the other regular commentators on this blog are fictional creations of Tubbock ('Wilf''s blog seems too well written to stem from Tubbock, frinstance).
This is all part of the charm of course, but it can be very confusing and is a bit silly (Steve (sorry, I should say 'Horton') watch you dont disappear up your own arse!;))