Out of Place contributor, Charles D’Anastasi, talks about ‘Broken House’, closing lines and inspiring reads. Read his piece and other great microliterature in Out of Place.
What inspired you to write the piece of microliterature which will appear in Out of Place? How would you describe this form of writing?
I remember reading a newspaper article about a man who survived a bombing raid on his village, and who was stumbling about in a daze, in what remained of his house, inconsolable by his wife’s death.
As for this form of writing, I would say that when it’s going well it’s a writing that feeds on itself, calculated up to a point, but still fairly spontaneous.
How do you know the point at which a piece you are writing should end? Do you have any favorite closing line/s from your own work or from another writer? If so, which ones and why?
Often, something in the writing jumps up to let you know that there’s no point in saying anything else, and if you do it will only sound superfluous. I favour finishing with a nagging question, a persistent echo, or an atmospheric sense of something ….
Too many favourite closing lines to mention, but there are two that stand out. In Murray Bail’s Eucalyptus Chapter 31 ‘In a way she let the mechanical figure do the weeping’. I find this sentence inventive and desolate. And from Anne Carson ‘Short Talk On Hedonism’, ‘When I look at the city of Paris I long to wrap my legs around it’ for sheer exuberance and brio. Actually, this is not the last line in this five line prose poem, but it certainly has the feel of a memorable last line in another imaginary prose poem.
Tell us about some writers that you’ve loved in the past and who you are reading now.
When I first discovered W.G. Sebald, Borges and Rimbaud I was moved by their daring and exciting exploration of language and ideas. I have recently discovered the work of Penelope Fitzgerald through a short story Means of Escape. And of course, I always try to make the stories of Alice Munro last, when I’m reading them.
What you do if you haven’t written anything in a while and you want to get started writing again? Show one of your writing exercises with our readers.
For me, reading always helps, because amongst many other things, it seems to satisfy an inner need related to the act of writing. Also, I continuously refer to my notebooks, scraps of paper. What people say in some unguarded moment, sometimes reveal an inner truth, that makes one reflect, and this could lead to …an idea. Perhaps. Go for a walk. Mull over words, incidents, places, people. Go back to the notebooks; try to link words, thoughts, phrases, anythi
ng. Who Knows? Discard things. Start again. Over and over. Mostly, I throw things out. Read.