Guest Writer: Able Elba

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[Photo: Able Elba]
Pulchritudinous Decline
Able Elba, 2018
 

And as the years fade,
fleshy encounters
with folds of listening and not being heard
creep up and frighten from behind walls and doors.
Pulchritudinous sags – crags – puckers –
a map of memories to cherish
and those I hope have the decency to stay behind
when I go.
[Writing began at fourteen, therapy after the loss of my father. Now, approaching thirty I extend a piece of my soul for the world to hold and do with what it likes. Seven years of art, music and writing education and here we are– further from the beginning with the penetrating recognition of how fast it has all gone by. Living is a burden and exquisite– all of which, I sieve through the arts. –Able Elba]
Her writings, art, and music can be found on her site: Able Elba

Meet Sudden Denouement Collective Member Jimmi Campkin

The editors of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective know that our strength is our writers. We hope that you enjoy getting to know them through our new Writer Interview Series.

What name do you write under?

Jimmi Campkin

In what part of the world do you live?

I am currently living in a small seaside village called Whitby, in the North East of England.  Whitby is a charming and beautiful little place – little changed in 850 years – with narrow winding streets, ancient buildings, a ruined Abbey on the cliffs and wee cobbled roads – as well as long beaches and the power and majesty of the sea, which crashes over the town during storms or is as still as glass when calm. Whitby also has connections to literature – Lewis Carroll stayed here a few times, but more famously Bram Stoker was also a visitor and set much of the beginning of Dracula in the town, inspired by the view from his hotel window.

Tell us about yourself. 

Born in 1983, lived in the same dying post-industrial town called Dunstable until I was nineteen – a town which, in the spirit of hiraeth, I still have affection for but I know I can never revisit.  Spent most of my childhood playing alone or with a few close friends, writing stories and inventing hundreds more in my own head.  Dunstable still haunts many of my stories – characters, locations and experiences make up a big chunk of my work, and it is a town that I find difficult to fully extricate myself from, and yet I know I will never live there again.

Between the ages of 16 and 18 I had a knife pulled on me three times, and a few other incidents in which people wished to cause myself (and sometimes my friends) considerable harm.  It’s that kind of area.

I moved to York attending the University of York St John in 2003 studying English Literature; where I largely ignored the dull course texts and bummed around reading Catcher In The Rye, wearing eyeliner and reading poetry in coffee shops.

Yeah, I know…

However during this time I decided to become A Proper Writer after getting a very high mark for a Creative Writing module.  Since then I have bounced from job to job, town to town, taking up art and photography, playing the guitar, trying to find the point of it all but it always comes back to words and images and the love of them.

Where do you publish your work?

Writing: Jimmi Campkin

Photography: jimmicampkin

When did you begin your blog and what motivated you start it?

I began my blog in it’s current incarnation around 2012/13.  I had been going through a writing drought, and I felt a new platform with a clean slate might inspire me, although it took a long time for me to feel comfortable writing again.  I’ve had an online blog/website since the late-90’s though, when I had two long-running Livejournal accounts which mixed my real life with fiction…. something I still do now.

What inspires/motivates you to keep blogging on your site?

As grandiose as this sounds, I feel as though I have been put here to create.  There is nothing else that I am (relatively) good at, and also enjoy doing.  I can’t rewire a plug, I can’t swim and I cannot climb the greasy company pole in a job I detest for fifty years and retire miserable.  Whether it is photography or words, I need to do this or there is no point.

When did you join the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective?

I am a newcomer to the collective, and no less humbled by it.

How did you find your way to Sudden Denouement?

I had already heard of SD, but felt slightly intimidated by the quality and quantity of words already on there.  However SK Nicholas – one of my closest friends, if not my absolute closest, and someone I have known since we were both in single digits age-wise – recommended that I try and join, and put in some very encouraging words on my behalf.

What does “Divergent Literature” mean to you?

Divergent to me is something challenging, and far from the safe and cosy world that seems to perpetuate the shelves of modern bookstores these days.  When something awful like 50 Shades can immediately generate a thousand copycats flooding the market, and the gaps are filled with dry crime, romantic slush and ghost-written autobiographies by people still in their thirties, it is important to still have a gateway to fiction that makes you think and feel and that sometimes grabs you by the shirt, forces you against a wall and demands to be seen.  Fiction that sometimes doesn’t work, but that still merits a thoughtful response.  Words and stories and poems that are brave enough to fly close to the sun, knowing that their wings may melt.  Divergent is to not be afraid of a heroic failure in the pursuit of reaching out and touching the fingertips of someone looking for a fellow lost soul to be their guardian in the Big Bad Real World of white picket fences and Donald Trump.  To want to be Divergent is the desire to connect with Human Beings as opposed to Hard Capital and Sales Demographics.

Jasper Kerkau frequently talks about Sudden Denouement writers using the ‘secret language’. What is it?

I can’t tell you.

Tell us about your literary influences?

Iain Banks was an early influence on my writing, particularly The Crow Road and The Wasp Factory.  Jeffrey Eugenides The Virgin Suicides and Douglas Coupland’s Life After God feature sentences that make me want to climb on my roof and punch the air in triumph.  In recent years I have discovered Bukowski and his anarchic commentary on the Down Life, and even higher than Charles B, I need to acknowledge Donald Ray Pollock whose works based around his life in deepest Ohio are beautiful, poetic and sympathetic to people who have been forgotten by society – I rate him above Bukowski and I rate Bukowski high.  Although this smacks of a weird form of nepotism, SK Nicholas has always been an influence.  I am fortunate enough to have been reading his work since we were both teenagers with Livejournals and I’ve always admired his words.  Lastly, I think JG Ballard possessed the finest and most prescient mind of anyone I have ever read.  Although I never attempt to write like him, stories like High Rise and my personal favourite Vermillion Sands are examples of what literature can do when a mind is unshackled and allowed to fly.

Has any of your work been published in print?  How did that happen?

My work has featured in literary magazines such as Gravel, and a few others that have since passed peacefully away.  I have also written for various fanzines and independent publications.

What are your writing goals? 

My desire is to have a novel and a collection of short stories published.  I would also like to see my Sanctuary series republished in a format that is larger and more affordable to showcase my photography.  Ultimately, it is about making connections.  I want my work to be seen by as many eyes as possible, in the hope that I can inspire someone as much as my inspirations have driven me.

Which pieces of your own writing are your favorites?

Painted Fingernails

Oily Jeans

Death Sun

Apples

Sync

Coconut

What else would like to share about your writing, Sudden Denouement, or yourself?

“What am I in the eyes of most people – a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person – somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low.  All right, then – even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart” 

Vincent van Gogh

“It is a time of tons of verbiage, activity, consumption.  Which condition is better for the world at large I shall not venture to discuss.  But I do know, that many of those who are driven to this life are desperately searching for those pockets of silence where we can root and grow.  We must all hope we find them”

Mark Rothko

 

 

 

 

 

Menace-Jimmi Campkin

 

The cornfield waves and shimmers before us. I have you on my shoulders and we’re having our Woodstock moment, wooping and crying, high and mighty. The angel dust kicked in over an hour ago and my skin still feels electric, sweat turning to pebbles and rolling off my cheeks and arms.

Faced with a blazing autumn sun, we curse all the gods we can remember; we fuck the Christian god, the Greek gods, the Roman gods, the names and faces of our so called creators we motherfuck out of existence. Only the sun matters now; the heat and the light burning our eyes clear of the filth we see every day in town, before we fill our veins and noses with the truth. Out here in this field we are the only junkies; never kicking down but only kicking up, only fighting the glass ceiling, only trying to win… looking for our hill to die on. When that skinny, trembling greasy cunt met us in the stairwell last week, you looked him in his marble eyes and said firmly we are one of you, and I ended up taking a knife slash across the jaw. Yellow and swollen it hums and seethes, weeping like the rest of this cursed society. Even infected with dirt, it is still more pure than the rest of our neighbourhood.

The town has suffered under a never-ending eclipse, where the moon blocked the sun and has remained there to punish us, to leave us sans soleil, but with cruel glimpses around the black edges of a light we no longer have a right to. That’s why we steal cars and Coke cans. We punch in the holes, fill our lighters, drain the sugary garbage into the soil, and go miles and miles find these places where the glowing radiation above can burn away our cancers.

Climb the tallest trees and you can see the monster under the shadow. We know about the rows of terraced houses, like the walls of an old castle, keeping out intruders; like the walls of a prison, keeping everyone in.

Later in the evening the shimmering globe melts the horizon enough to slip beneath and disappear under us. We feel the warmth as we lay on the soil, protected by thousands of yellow shoots now standing guard over us. I slide my fingers into your jeans. From the shining smirk in your eyes I can’t tell if you are soaking horny, or if you’ve deliberately pissed yourself again.


Born in November 1983, I have been writing in some form or another for most of my life, but I began to take it seriously as a career around 2003/2004.  Since then I have produced a novel, a novella and a series of short stories some of which are loosely linked into an overarching anthology.

Most of my stories come under the wide umbrella of ‘general fiction’, but I have experimented with genre pieces.  My short stories tend to be bittersweet, nostalgic, sometimes melancholic and (on occasion) examine the darker side of human nature and obsessions.

I welcome you to my site Jimmi Campkin, and I hope you find something here to please you.  If not, below you’ll find a big picture of me to scream obscenities at.

Fawn- Introducing Jimmi Campkin

Whitby XXI.JPG[Photo by Jimmi Campkin]

Fawn

We’d convinced the girl behind the screen to let us climb the church tower.  We were both stoned beyond human comprehension – only nature could understand us now – but with her bored expression and indigo hair, we could see a kindred spirit.  Arms over shoulders we talked about the coming of the Lord, and how we needed to get really high, because we wanted to run our fingers through the clouds, and you kept spitting on the glass every time you tried to pronounce a hard ‘th’.  Never mind.  Our tickets were punched, and I swear I caught a smile as a lock of dark purple hair curled over an ear pockmarked with empty piercings.

Up the narrow stone steps we wound, tripping over each others ankles, inhaling all the smells of history – damp, dust and decay.  Emerging on a ledge, supported by one  thousand year old masonry, we stared up at the same sun from all those ages ago, and ran our fingers through the grooves left by people long since lost.  No tombs, no bones, no names, just the gashes in the rock.  I carved our initials into the soft stone to continue the journey.

Your lapdance around the spire was bizarre.  Uncordinated.  You stripped like a propeller rather than a dancer, flinging clothes and limbs everywhere.  Quoting The Dane, you screamed into the air; I have of late, wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth…

I sat down, watching you self destruct, what a piece of work…

Jimmi Campkin

[Born in November 1983, I have been writing in some form or another for most of my life, but I began to take it seriously as a career around 2003/2004.  Since then I have produced a novel, a novella and a series of short stories some of which are loosely linked into an overarching anthology.
Most of my stories come under the wide umbrella of ‘general fiction’, but I have experimented with genre pieces.  My short stories tend to be bittersweet, nostalgic, sometimes melancholic and (on occasion) examine the darker side of human nature and obsessions.
I also enjoy art and photography.  Clicking on the photography link will direct you to a few examples of my pictures, or if you prefer you can look at my artwork.  Most of my pictures, art and snippets from my stories also end up on my Instagram account (@jcampkin)
I welcome you to this site, and I hope you find something here to please you.  If not, below you’ll find a big picture of me to scream obscenities at.]