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Reflections of a working writer and reader

 

 

Five Questions: Biroco

1. Why do you blog?
It’s useful to have an instant audience for short pieces of writing, and also to have something to motivate you. Although I had no clear intention when I began over three years ago, I soon noticed I was writing pieces in a style geared to the medium and that probably wouldn’t have got written otherwise. It’s interesting to see what comes when you aim at a very specific outlet, as it inevitably shapes what you say. It’s a bit like having a column. When your prime motivation is writing for yourself, it doesn’t greatly matter that your audience is small. The presence of some sort of audience is however important because it forces you to hone the writing so that it is clear there and then, whereas normally I would leave it in a semi-unfinished state and revise or abandon later. I find it useful to finish short pieces of writing on a regular basis, as the experience sets down a pattern to follow when it comes to longer works, the end of which is usually more difficult to reach.

2. Which author and/or book has most influenced you?
I decided to “be a writer” after seeing a television documentary on William S Burroughs in, I think, 1982. Afterwards I read most of his work and experimented with cut-up, so I guess he has been the biggest influence in that he got me going. I wouldn’t say Burroughs’ work is an influence anymore, though. There are a handful of other good writers since then who have opened my eyes to what it is possible to do with words.

3. Which three blogs do you most visit?
Excluding your own, these would be, at present:
The Quiet Road: http://numero57.net/
Journal of a Writing Man: http://oldgreypoet.com/
Grumpy Old Bookman: http://www.grumpyoldbookman.blogspot.com/

4. Why do you read fiction?
I read fiction because under that category the very best of writers are to be found. Most fiction, however, I find unreadable. I usually read writers who have done something different, gone out on a limb or experimented in some way, writers such as Samuel Beckett, Fernando Pessoa, Alasdair Gray, B S Johnson, J M Coetzee, Michel Houellebecq. I read fiction to be entertained and learn something about writing at the same time.

5. What makes you laugh?
The Mighty Boosh, Napoleon Dynamite, a cat chasing its own tail, Richard Brautigan, ducks skidding on ice.

Joel Biroco blogs at Biroco, which can be found here: http://www.biroco.com/journal.htm

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