I’m faced with a huge block of dense material, armed with my crude tools and no idea how to sculpt. The interview transcript comes to 2,900 words. The word count is 1,500. How do I even begin chiselling it down and shaping it into a something half-decent?
I’ve never written an interview before. I’ve filmed them – that’s easy – and edited them into a succinct and coherent sequence, but it seems so much harder to refine raw speech, to transmute it into text and then set it seamlessly into a piece of pure writing (pure as in it came about as writing, not as speech. Of course, language is always impure). And then how to achieve what I want to achieve? That slow, deliberating feel of visiting a bookshop, running your hands over the spines, the experience of searching rather than the immediacy of just clicking a button. And to emulate the infinite différance of text and language – the material intertextuality of the bookshop – I want to allude to, quote and paraphrase as many books as possible; but how to fit all that in without fucking it up, bogging it down or cutting it to pieces with jolting, shoehorned references?
How to make this complex collage – of speech, my own writing and the writing of others – slow but absorbing, fluid, complete?
That is my problem.