Wednesday, 26 February 2014

TULIPS in Necessary Fiction

My story, Tulips, was inspired by Zbigniew Herbert's fabulous, and fabulously orange, Still Life With A Bridle (see my earlier blogpost here), and by the property crash in Ireland.

There are some who think it's too soon and too clichéd to write about property developers, but I don't think we've even scratched the surface. In our eagerness to pin blame on the banker-developer-regulator trilogy we've developed a collective amnesia about our own collusion. Few of the chattering classes didn't manage to buy an investment property or two, and tedious, self-congratulatory conversations took place in homes up and down the country, homes before been untroubled by the word 'portfolio'. We were all in it, shamelessly, up to our necks. While I agree that it's too easy to satirise now, with hindsight, I don't agree that we shouldn't be writing about it. With every year that passes we're gaining new perspectives, and only when we have a lorry load of these can we sift and select, and discover real insights into what happened. We could think of it as collective raw material, out of which definitive works can emerge.

The story of the black tulip is a well known part of Dutch history. Maybe as a nation we hadn't read it; if we did, we sure didn't learn anything from it. In my story I don't aim for satire though, I actually feel sorry for my developer. Because during those heady years we were all a little bit developer, a little bit developer's wife, a bit tiger cub, living the fantasy.

Hope you enjoy reading, and many thanks to Steve Himmer at Necessary Fiction for publishing it.

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