Silly Statues

There are these two concrete maidens who greet passersby in my town. Their aspect has some parallels with those classical Greek statues (Aphrodite perhaps) only it’s as though Walt Disney gave them a makeover to appeal to our modern tastes (was he thinking Snow White?), and then Hugh Hefner strolled by and persuaded them to expose their breasts. I wonder if their owner tips his hat to them every morning when he collects his paper. “Guten Morgen, meine schöne Damen!”

It is from these two statues that the beginnings of a story has emerged. It might  be called The Wonder Tree (Der Wunderbaum). It is a story set where I live–in Purkersdorf: a small town in the Vienna Woods. I’ve often read it is a good idea to write what you know. Stephen King for example often sets his stories in Maine because this is where he lives. Of course he has also grown up there and has some sense of its history and has an intimate awareness of the culture. I’m a new kid on the block in this town, and I’m not an Austrian, still I have the benefit of a fresh perspective, and this I hope, the reader (even if it is just my wife or a few of my fellow writers at Vienna Writers) might enjoy.

How about you–are you setting your stories in your hometown or someplace you know?

Well, that’s enough waffle from me this week. I’ll try and post one last blog before taking an extended leave.





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About paulmalone

An Australian writer in Austria

7 responses to “Silly Statues”

  1. john malone says :

    yes you must squueeze at least one more blog in, Paul.

    I fully agree with what Stephen King says: many of my published poems, both adult and childrens, are set in my little city and more particularly in my house — where ‘Little Acts of Slaughter’ is situated entirely — and iots front and back yards.

    There is a lot you can do in a confined place. Two recent instances — both film — ‘Buried’ and ‘127 Hours’ suppport this.

    Know your own place well. Know its every nook and cranny. For my ant story I explored the kitchen from all angles. It is the details that give your work authenticity

  2. paulmalone says :

    I like this. Only last night whilst reading 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, I came across a scene where Komatsu (a very clued-up editor) explains to a prodigy writer, Tengo: “When you introduce things that most readers have never seen before into fiction you have to describe them with as much precision and detail as possible. What you can eliminate from fiction is the description of things that most readers have seen.”

    So, whether it be Purkersdorf or your kitchen, as you said, you’ve got to know the details to convey this information, and capture the reader’s imagination.

  3. john malone says :

    maybe I dismissed this novel too easily. that is certainly good advice for any writer: you must take the reader into your world. How? through the specificity of detaiL. my poetry editor taught me this but it is good advice for fiction writers too

  4. Matthew Leroy says :

    Only problem I can think of is that Bryce Courtney once said ‘Editors don’t like stories about Australia. They think Australia doesn’t sell ( in terms of millions)’

    I think if some of his novels, like the potato factory, had been written in America and set in the USA they would have been international bestsellers.

  5. paulmalone says :

    Yes, I suppose it might be an obstacle to selling millions of copies. And I too have heard how difficult it is for Australian writers to make a profession out of it. But what can you do? I’ve never even been to the States. And anyway, in your case (like mine) you’ve got Vienna now! People want to know about that. Tourists flock in the millions to get their Mozart Balls or their Sound Of Music fix. There is SO much more they can discover.

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