Earlier this year, I was approached by Polly Trope-Mechanus to read her new book - Cured Meat.
I was extremely taken with the book, and wanted to find out a little more about the author.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Polly and this is what she had to say.
Where are you from originally?
I’m from Berlin, Germany.
Tell us your latest news?
Last month I joined the team at IndieBerlin magazine. They will start an Indie Lit rubric on their site, dedicated to self-releasing and independent writers and books. I’m involved with building that up together with the editor-in-chief.
And also this month, I became an editor at Oneiros Books, which is a collective of independent writers.
If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
Hard to tell if the man would be like the work; but I’d have liked to have met Marcel Proust. Hubert Selby Jr., Evelyn Waugh, and James Joyce; I’d just like to see how James Joyce talks. Proust’s book "In Search of Lost Time" impressed me so much, he must have had an incredibly sharp mind and knowledge about the self, the past, dreams, sex, society, illness, religion, bigotry and vice; about transformation, about pain, and change – and he must have suffered a lot, just from living, although he was quite wealthy. And "Requiem for a Dream" blows my mind, so I’d love to have Hubert there too. He and Marcel could probably discuss the pros and cons of precious and refined styles in literature, by contrast to the brutal, gut wrenching nature of experience.
What are your current projects?
Blogging my new creative writing on a blog I started, called "fucking princess".
What books or authors have influenced your writing?
Marcel Proust, Virgil, Breton, Kurt Cobain, Placebo, Bianca and Sierra Casady, Rufus Wainwright – many song lyrics. And many German writers, especially Berlin writers from the turn of the 20th century. Experimental theatre in Berlin, and the history of the Berlin avant-garde.
Tell us a little about your background. When did you start writing?
A long time ago. I think I was 11 when I discovered the joys of writing in a little girl’s diary. I was not a happy child, and writing was at first a kind of self-therapy. But also, my school teachers picked up on my creative assignments and encouraged me to take part in some youth writing contests – and I won. I never stopped writing journals, but with time I upgraded them to something more grown-up.
I migrated my whole expressive abilities from the German language into the English language, when I was about 20; it went via the French language, which I also spoke quite a lot during my teens. In that sense, I have started writing several times over; English started when I was about 20.
Where do you get your ideas?
Oh, just life, dreams, surreal moments, fascinating people, unexpected developments, incredible places, music, night walks, dark moments, the good times and the bad. Mind-blowing fictions, too: books, shows...
What is your writing process?
For me it is about acquiring distance from my own work and reading it as if I was a stranger to my own book; de-personation in a way.
I used to write in notebooks, I still do sometimes. Lately I have enjoyed writing four to five line facebook statutes or spurts on twitter, later I fuse it all together. Then it goes on a blog. Or gets deleted – depends!
Can you tell us a little bit about Cured Meat?
This book is a journey with many stops and many stories. It’s about life on the fringes of madness and despair, we visit brothels, escort services, mental hospitals, and brutal street scenes as well as elegant dinners, or beautiful rooms. It is the book that I always wanted to write, and was always waiting to write. I am very happy that I’ve done it.
How long did it take you to complete?
Some of the material in there is quite old, but when I wrote that, I didn’t know it would one day become part of a book called "Cured Meat". In Cured Meat you kind of come on a journey in real time, the narrator doesn’t know what will happen any more than the reader does. And that’s because a lot of Cured Meat is true, and a lot of the things I included in Cued Meat, are extracts from my journals – together with a retelling of the events in retrospect.
But to answer your question : From the moment I decided to do the book to the moment it was completed, that took about a year and a half.
Tell us about your cover. Did you design it yourself?
Sabrina Andresen designed it. Sabrina, Joe Palermo (photographer) and I went on a day out around London last summer with a bag of props, and took lots of pictures of me in places that have some significance to me, or my book. Sabrina turned it all into a book cover.
Where did you get the inspiration for your cover?
Well... it was Sabrina’s idea, really. She knows me well and surprised me with the cover, and I loved it right away. We couldn’t have done it without Joe Palermo though. He and I work very well together, and as a trio with Sabrina on that day, there was an amazing energy.
Does your reading inspire you and your work?
Ok, now for some fun questions…
What is your favourite color?
What is your favourite food?
Chinese broccoli with garlic sauce :)
Where is your favourite place to eat?
I’m not exactly a foodie. But I like vegan restaurants, and I like Pho. I probably could get used to eating traditional food in countryside lodges, every time I have done, I loved it.
Dogs or Cats?
If we Googled your name what would we see?
If you were attending a Halloween party, what would you costume be and why?
A bedsheet ghost – because it’s easy, and I like ghosts.
List five adjectives to describe yourself
low maintenance, migrant, adventure loving, unconventional, quiet
Tea or Coffee?
If you are interested in reading about Cured Meat - check out my review - http://pinkypollock.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/review-cured-meat.html