Pyramid Schemes

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You find me in a stricken trawler somewhere in the North Atlantic. The hull has been ruptured, the captain is dead (bludgeoned) and we’re taking on water. I’m typing this at a 45° angle. There are grown men weeping, praying, begging to speak to their loved ones one final time. But first things first…

There’s two fiction projects I’ve been involved with in small ways that I thought I should mention. The first is called Pyramid Schemes: A Collective Cityscape. It’s a book and exhibition put together by the artist Lawrence Lek and The White Review. They can explain it much better than I can (see below) but the calligram above is a glimpse of the project, which you can scroll through on their site. It’s a combination of a very short text of mine (nodding to the great Jorge Luis Borges) and a poem by one of my heroes Guillaume Apollinaire, about whom I’ve written previously for 3:AM Magazine.

‘Pyramid Schemes is a collaborative project by Lawrence Lek and The White Review featuring forty-eight artists and writers who explore architectures of their own creation.

On 2nd May 2013 at the White Building in Hackney Wick, an immersive video installation shaped their texts into a panoramic cityscape.

This is the written record of that fictional city.’

The second is a short story I wrote for Beat the Dust’s latest literary experiment. The first one we did was a collaborative story (pdf) nearly 5 years ago, sweet mother of Jesus, and was well-received by Dazed & Confused among others. This time the aim was to start a story with the last line of a book, in my case Beckett’s The Unnameable, the last in his side-splitting, young and aspirational rom-com trilogy. It’s a short piece where nothing remotely happens. I’ve been reading a lot of Ibsen and have been intrigued by the way he uses subtext and omission especially in Ghosts (the ending of which chills me to the bone every time I read it) and When We Dead Awaken. So this was an attempt to write a short story where everything that happens isn’t actually mentioned. I’d like to some day write a novel where everything happens outside of the pages but couldn’t be bothered at present. There’s nothing else to say other than it didn’t have a title but the excellent Richard & Linda Thompson song ‘I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight’ was playing when the editor Melissa Mann asked me for one and it seemed to fit.

P.S. Send help immediately.

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3 Responses to Pyramid Schemes

  1. sfhopkins says:

    “Beckett’s … side-splitting, young and aspirational rom-com trilogy”

    Oh, I love it!

  2. exitotter says:

    …This time the aim was to start a story with the last line of a book…
    Brilliant idea. Why didn’t I think of that before?

  3. Jeff says:

    ‘I’d like to some day write a novel where everything happens outside of the pages but couldn’t be bothered at present.’
    An elegantly economical story in itself.

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