Friday, 22 July 2011

The Eagle, the truck driver and Plato*

In the ‘About’ wording on the right of your screen, we say that the members of Severn Valley Authors share a commitment to being published. So we always greet the news that one of us has had a success with huge enthusiasm. Aquila the magazine of ‘fun, challenge and inspiration’ for youngster of 8-13 is publishing Tony Gillam’s short story Times Wing’d Chariot in its summer double issue. Well done, Tony. (And he’s paid for it too!) 

We settled down to the main event of the meeting which was to workshop a rewrite of an extract from Chris’s meisterwerk. Chris Smith is not your usual truck driver. In Karl Marx and Careful Driving, the book he is writing (the act itself makes him unusual), Chris describes one of the great migrations of the truck-driving fraternity and weaves into his story the history of world politics and philosophy. It’s an odyssey of the body and the mind. His plan is to write this in such a way that your every-day, currant-bun reading truck driver can make sense of it. This looks like a crack-pot scheme and originally I doubted Chris’s sanity for trying but, if the extract he read at our meeting is anything to go by, he’s going to pull it off.

The thoughts of Plato, who was absent in the original extract (a shameful omission, I think you’ll agree), have now been added to those of the other philosophers and political thinkers in Chris’s repertoire. He has seamlessly woven this content into his expert travel writing that describes the night drive from Kidderminster to Dover which is the first stage of Chris’s bodily odyssey. He does it in such a way (now that the extracts from heavy tomes are confined to the footnotes) that even I find it accessible and riveting. We all agreed that this is a winner.

*Aquila is Latin for eagle – but you knew that.

1 comment:

  1. I should explain that, when Rob writes "he's paid for it" (about my story in Aquila) he means "he is paid for it" rather than "he has paid for it." We have all suffered for our art but writing this story was no great sacrifice. By the way, I didn't know Aquila was Latin for 'eagle' but I bet Chris would have known, classicist that he is.