A Barber Shop Quartet
Since his return from Taiwan, Chaz has been working intermittently on a series of stories sparked by his reaction to his experience of the place. At readings, he tantalises audiences with an unfinished narrative, which begins:
"After long search, I found my sorrow in Hsimenting, standing in a puddle of light."This opening section was published on-line in the Fall 2006 issue of the highly respected e-zine Blithe Quarterly, whose motto is "Queer fiction lives here": it was subsequently included in the Million Writers Award's list of notable stories published on-line in 2006.
Pressure of other work has hitherto prevented him from advancing beyond the first of the quartet of stories, but in April 2005 he received a New Writing North Time to Write award to work on the book. The Time to Write scheme allows writers to buy time away from other work and financial pressures for reasonable lengths of time so that they can complete books that are already in progress. To qualify for the awards, writers must have a strong track record of publication and be in the middle of progressing work that is likely to be published.
The Award was presented by novelist Carol Clewlow at a ceremony in Durham's Gala Theatre.
Chaz'z award will support him to work on a linked series of novellas entitled Confidence: A Barber Shop Quartet. He explained the title to The Journal's David Whetstone:
"There are two types of barber shop. In one kind they'll cut your hair. They have plate glass windows on the ground floor and you can see inside where people are having their hair cut.
"At the other kind, the windows have black stained glass, there are bouncers on the door, a little neon butterfly sign on the wall and usually a long queue of limos and taxis round the back.
"Although people call them barber shops, they're actually brothels and everyone knows it."
Read the full text of this interview on The Journal's website.