Reviews and comment from the Demon Crew - creative writers at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Dreamside of Enchantment: in memory of Graham Joyce

How do you review a tribute to someone? Especially someone who inspired you to write. Along with Tolkien, Pratchett, Morpurgo and Martin, Graham Joyce was that for me. The Limits of Enchantment remains one of my more re-read stories to this day; as far as I’m concerned one of Graham’s most underrated works. I think, to review this tribute, I simply have to talk about the things I learned from it. In other words, what insight did it give into his voice and method?
Susan Joyce, the late author’s wife, spoke wonderfully about Graham’s personality and attitudes towards writing. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to stories about the various characters Joyce invented, including fat-dad, who would appear if he stopped writing for any given period of time. Apparently Graham would have conversations in his head between characters he had invented, which is remarkable to me, because it’s something I do myself - now if only I could follow in his footsteps further and actually write things down.
"Writer’s block? Ever heard of coal miner’s block? It’s about the work, if you don’t work, nothing will ever get done." - Graham Joyce.
We also heard from some of Graham’s close friends and students, who discussed his work at length - far too great a length to quote from memory - as well as poetry he worked on, read by Bea, a student lucky enough to meet him. The quotation above is actually taken from the poem he wrote for Bea's open mic night - something else I learned during this hour of wonderment. We were even lucky enough to hear a recording of Joyce, reading from Some Kind of Fairytale, one of his more critically acclaimed works. Again, this provided inspiring insight into the thoughts of the author.
At its core, the whole experience was simply moving. There is nothing more special than listening to a writer, learning their thought processes, seeing how they write their characters. Sadly, the opportunity to hear from Joyce himself has passed me by. Failing that, I can think of no more a joy that to hear from people whose lives he was such a big part of. I wholeheartedly thank everyone involved in the organisation of this special tribute to a fantastic, creative talent.

Ben Harrison

No comments:

Post a Comment