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Behind the Scenes of Nine Avenues

The stories within Nine Avenues were written over a four year period and quite early on coalesced into ideas which could form a collection. As such many of the stories form doubles, the one side of a story counter-posed to the other.

If You Wear That Dress was written first and in that story of yearning and desire, it seemed clear to me that time, distance, love and the loss of love were ideas I wanted to write within. I wanted to go over those themes like a symphonic movement because the sound of the words would be engaging. I do not explore ideas like a scientist and produce a result; there is nothing discoverable or measurable here—it is just the sum of the experience and the words. Transcendence takes the purely rational, the abstract and examines it in the mind a man who has had a long and happy marriage. Logic and emotion are balanced against each other.

In the shorter pieces, such as Talking and Letters, the characters address each other over great distances either through voice or text. In Spoken and Heard, the approach is stylistic as “Spoken” is one sinuous and repetitive nightmare; the other story, “Heard,” has been described as haiku on crack. Both depict the same thing as seen by different people.

It is that subjectivity that is most interesting and almost necessarily how one person relates to another. In Flights in Airless Space and The Nine Avenues, three sets of different characters come together. In Flights, it is a hotel room over the period of many years; in The Nine Avenues, it is along a highway. There are trysting lovers, married people attempting one last time to be in love again, parents observed starkly by their children. There are lonely men in cars escaping from some bad place and in the disjuncture of time, the characters and their world become sharper in heavier contrast.

Guy Cranswick
31 August2012

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