On my own work

Freedom Ties/The Schmock | Tickled Pink | Cahiers du Cinéma | The Serious Writer And His Penis | Potato Mash

Freedom Ties” and “The Schmock” were both published in issue two of Berlin’s English language literary magazine, SAND. Both of them came out of daily neighborhood observations: the idea for ‘Freedom Ties‘ goes back to a conference talk where I, in order to stir a stiff audience up a bit, took my tie off at the beginning of my speech (on social media and e-publishing). On the way home, I couldn’t get Cary Grant out of my head (who wouldn’t have approved of my removing the necktie—you know what a fashion stickler he was) & when I noticed barb wire on a building, the story came together as a story about man’s freedom. Of course, you’re free, too, to read it any way you like…as for ‘The Schmock‘, similar story: I had just come from my doctor where I’d received good news regarding a nasty-looking mole (hypochondriac’s unite!) … so death was on my mind. As I was cycling home (there is a lot of bicycle traffice in my kiez in Berlin, especially in summer—it’s the vehicle of choice for short & medium distances), I noticed a group of men in black suits loiter in a house entrance, and the possibility of death in connection with the strange suits created the story almost as you see it here, literally in one flash. NRA members! There are no “tungsten Sierra bullets”, as you well know. There’s however, a tool company, Sierra Tools, that produces cutters made of tungsten. Chechens!—no offense: your recent violent history with Russia made me think of your ethnicity. The “Factory of Blind Infants”, which made its first appearance in another story of mine, “Rites of Spring“, was added on a whim to underline the obscurity of the crime scene…I had originally planned to write a novella about this ominous ‘factory’, but so far it has remained a work in progress. — ‘The Schmock’ was favorably reviewed by Sam Rasnake (for my alter ego Finnegan Flawnt):

«The piece – “The Schmock greeted his fate with perfect equanimity.” – May 19, 2010, Flash by Flawnt, fully exemplifies to my eye and ear the written landscape that is uniquely Flawnt’s.  Wonderful rhythms and imagery – and a matter-of-fact style that overwhelms the reader.  Strong writing.  Love the closing of this piece.  “The words ‘Factory of Blind Infants’ on the inside jacket of the breviary found at the murder scene didn’t mean anything to any of the policemen in attendance.”  Perfect.»

If you enjoyed the audio versions of these stories, or if you have a freakish propensity towards foreign tongues, you can also listen to the German versions of these stories, as “Der Schmock” (The Schmock) and “Das Schriftstück” (Freedom Ties). It is really quite extraordinary to compare the sounds of stories in English and German.

Tickled Pink” is the first story I ever published. It came out at the Canadian e-zine Metazen in June 2009 (under my pseudonym, Finnegan Flawnt). The magazine had only been founded shortly before by Frank Hinton. The inspired bio for Flawnt for the piece was also written by Frank. When I wrote this, I had not written a lot of prose in English & I was experimenting with sentence structure, capitalisation and dialog…probably fiddling with too many knobs at once. the story (if it is a story) began its life when the sentence “my hands were made of iron: i built a faraday cage to shield my manhood from curious looks” popped into my head. everything else flowed from there. many props of the story can be found around our house, such as the tibetan bowl. I’ve never been at a racetrack, though. “tickled pink” is one of my favorite English expressions. Alas, I don’t often get to use it in daily life. Perhaps that’s why I used it here.

On “Cahiers du Cinéma, Blue Fifth Review (11/2010) – excerpt:

Perhaps this is the meaning of remembering: getting to gauge the gap between who we are and who we were. Really ‘we,’ because like vampires “we don’t die, we multiply” in the course of our lives.

The serious astronaut and his penis.

On “The Serious Writer and His Penis” in ‘Best of Metazen’, Metazen (09/2010) – excerpt:

Without the 19th century insisting on its “Verklemmtheit” (a wonderful German word suggesting a clamped down, clenched self-consciousness), we wouldn’t have had to be liberated by Joyce and Dostoyevsky.

On “Potato Mash” in ‘Best of Metazen’, Metazen (01/2010) – excerpt:

The night before, I had seen a fox in the city centre cross the road in front of my car, which startled me and I wondered about the family of that fox and how it would be to have a fox as a pet or power animal. It seemed an exceptionally good animal for a writer: the quick wit, the supernatural spirit. As I was writing, I became more interested in the character of the writer herself and in her relationships with men and with family. The ambivalence, built into us, between a savage hunter and a civilized craftsman.