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Upending meanings and rewriting sanity

A. L. Kennedy

What is an Author?

Published: 02.12.2019


The one who takes the temperature of widespread amphetamine dreams, who carves out screaming headlines to turn up the heat. The one who makes every morning a dose of paranoia, an uptick of fathomless rage. When it all burns you’ll know – a writer was there at the first, taking words and dipping them in shit, upending meanings and rewriting sanity.

The one who writes the speeches for the tiny and furious men. The one who frames every demand, every statement of entitlement, into a poem of generosity and light. When you forget your own safety and put yourself in the hands of psychopaths – a writer helped you think that you’d survive, a writer made those memorable phrases that clogged the unwary air while greasy fingers gripped a podium and a monster looked out across a crowd and saw nothing but livestock, prey.

The one who makes kaleidoscopic lenses through which to view shattered leaders. The one who makes the clown vanish and creates the shadow of a king. Empty and terrifying people are plainly nothing but a path to horror without their covering of words. When you wake and discover your rights have been taken – a writer eased the theft.

The one who spreads the rumour: who did what, who thinks what, whose essential nature is in implacable opposition to yours. When reality twists like an ugly new song and you’re frightened to speak with strangers, to look at strangers, when you feel that you need to start screaming in the street, that you need to bear arms – a writer was there to convince you.

The one who makes the narrative that says all you can know of human nature will disappoint, who articulates perversions, manifests jealousy, cowardice, perennial malevolence. When you’re told what happens under stranger’s bedsheets, the putrefaction hidden in their heads, the dirty stains corrupting every motive, when you neither expect nor think to offer help – a writer set down words that led you to that place, that empty, lonely place.

The one who steals from friends, from lovers, family, peopling a paper world with fragments of privacies granted, who watches and eats the world, because it is material and nothing more. When creativity is never considered, when the keyboard pecks out no more than second hand pieces of reality....

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A. L. Kennedy

A. L. Kennedy

born in 1965 in Dundee, Scotland, is one of the most important female writers in English today. She has received numerous major prizes for literature, including the Heinrich Heine Prize in 2016. Her most recent publications are the novels Serious Sweet (2016) and The Little Snake (2018).
Other texts by A. L. Kennedy for DIAPHANES