2005 Snapshot Archive: Trent Jamieson

Interview by Ben Peek

Trent JamiesonTrent’s collection Reserved for Travelling Shows will be out from Prime books shortly. His fiction is also in Agog! Smashing Stories and the latest issue of Aurealis.

1) Reserved for Travelling Shows is the title of your collection. How would you describe the work in it, and what would you say unifies the work as a whole?

Me, that’s the major unifying force, that and that most of the fiction is quite short, I don’t tend to write long. The stories themselves range from fairly straightforward fantasy to post human fiction and even a bit of stuff that, when I feel pretentious, I’d call more mainstream literature. I’m kind of obsessed with relationships, how they work, how they fail, but also, how words fail. Writing is a scrambling for the inexpressible, thoughts and feelings and pain. Words are pretty terrible nets, well that’s how I see them, nets that are pretty and terrible.

2) You’ve been around the scene for a while now–I can remember reading your first appearance in 1994 (or thereabouts) in an issue of Eidolon. How do you think you’ve weathered the scene, and how do you think the scene has coped through the years?

Yeah, that was my first sale. I don’t know if I’ve so much as weathered the scene as been lucky that there’s always been someone who’s bought my stuff, not all of it, which is a good thing, but a fair percentage. The scene is pretty robust, not huge, but there’s always been markets, at least as long as I’ve been writing. I’ve heard Cat Sparks mention this a couple of times and I think it’s true, we’ve a good scene but it would be nice if not everyone was a writer, we need more readers.

3) For a brief period you edited Redsine, and you edited K J Bishop’s Etched City from Prime, and both were critically well received. Do you have any desire to go back to that, or to, indeed, go in different avenues outside writing fiction?

Editing is exhausting, unless your brain’s wired that way, mine isn’t. I stumbled into both gigs and had a lot of fun, particularly working with Kirsten, but it would have to be something pretty amazing to get me back. I love writing fiction, it’s play; you can tell a story in so many different ways and short fiction gives you even more latitude. I trained to be a journalist and sucked at that, seems fiction’s about the only thing I can manage, though I’d love to write a book of really bleak nonsense poems, in fact I’ve got nearly enough material.

4) You’re dead. The kitchen knives were really that sharp, and you shouldn’t have played with them. Oh well. So, you go to Heaven (assuming you believe) and you see God. What do you say?

Why’d you have to make the knives so sharp? I was having so much fun, and then there’s all this arterial blood, and now who’s going to clean up the mess, and I’m sure the dog’s going to eat my corpse, he’s been looking at me oddly for days. I thought you’d be taller.

It’ll either be that or, “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck” see question 5.

5) Favourite swear word?

Fuck. It’s a noun and a verb and, like tofu, you can substitute it for just about everything.

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