Saturday, 24 February 2024 15:39

Money & Blood

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in Fiction
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Money & Blood
 
Wayne Dean-Richards is a working-class writer, and middle-class agents and publishers just cannot relate to his stories. History, in England at least, shows that to be true. He writes how people speak, disregards the limitations of grammar, the King's English, and foregrounds voice and story over erudition and purple prose.
 
The one page story The Roofer, where a working-class guy talks about Van Gogh and Cezanne, means the absolute fucking world to me. It holds the husk of myth in its simplicity.
 
Why I Did What I Did to My Dentist has a Carveresque echo in its title but is more Bukowskian, even Fante-ish in its note perfect evocation of the frustrations of work. Things actually happen in these stories. Emotion comes before craft. There are exclamation marks!
 
At other times I felt like I was in a Birmingham Fat City, or the Pound Road version of Winesburg, Ohio. So many echoes of greatness. Stories of pubs, bakeries, factories, offices, gyms and car garages. Once you get used to the distinctive Richards voice, then these fast-paced stories are an immersive joy.
 
Some writers set out to capture working-class life in fiction, others write their own stories that happen to be working-class. There's always an obvious distinction there. The middle-class publishers see the working class as 'other'. If it was the other way around I wouldn't want to read their fucking stories either. Mainstream publishing is not about art, it's about facilitating the perception of culture among the middle class.
 
It doesn't matter that Wayne Dean-Richards has never been picked up by the big publishers, not from the point of the artist himself. He has stuck to his guns - sometimes leaves the cliches in as that's how people talk, and what people really understand, and it can facilitate the telling of a story. The story is the thing, not the sentence. He is true to his art, has made his own lonely path by various ways and means.
 
These writers will always exist on the margins. He has never been middle of the road mainstream, he's one of the lonely voices that keep on keeping on with the short story, because it's the greatest form for keeping alive the thoughts and feelings and voices of ordinary dreamers. Write on WDR, write on not with the memory of when you actually got paid for these fucking things, write on for art, mate, not Creative Writing, for art's fucking sake, the art of giving voice to the margins, from the margins, the priceless accumulation of stories from lived experience coupled with an undefeated imagination.
Read 378 times Last modified on Monday, 26 February 2024 22:20
Neil Campbell

Neil Campbell is from Manchester, England, and his latest book is Licensed Premises.