“It’s called a palimpsest. In its historical sense, a palimpsest is a document or scroll which, though once scribbled upon with good intentions with perfectly interesting and beautiful language, has fallen into obsolescence or no longer meets the needs of its current readership. It is, quite frankly, no longer read. It’s more dust than text. A monk or scholar, who by virtue of his disposition and vocation is hoping to pinch pennies, would prefer to reuse this old scrap and recycle it, rather than splash out on the fancy new shiny stuff from W H Smiths. So he scrapes and scrapes the upper layer of the paper, scratching away at it laboriously and cautiously, until the previous words, thoughts and language are barely legible, and he can continue to write and rewrite to his heart’s content. The old text is worked and reworked until a new piece can be written. And this little parchment can be passed down generations, both admired and forgotten at different stages of its ever-transitional life.
“In another sense, palimpsest is a process. We receive texts, thoughts, concepts, ideas, archetypes, laws, fairy tales and worse, and we do what we can with them. We scrape off that upper layer and bring what we can to the new-old text. It’s the same underneath, but something more. It’s the same and different. It’s destroyed and created. It’s everything and nothing, depending on who’s writing and who’s reading. That is also palimpsest.
“I think we’re all familiar with this. Hence this first post is a “reintroduction” in a way: we already know that literature, and language in fact, is constantly informed by what came before it. We also know that it steals, plagiarises and embezzles from previous texts; that it bitches about other writers at the coffee house, imitates, irritates and labours the point. I certainly do. And so I’ll do it here. I’ll be doing what any writer (or artist, in fact) would do: trying to bring to blossom a small, fragile, beautiful thing of my own creation. How? By recklessly and callously digging up, cutting up and goring hideously the remains of clumsily-exhumed writers who came before me.
“I’ll be inviting guest bloggers and collaborating on joint projects and anthologies throughout. I’ll be writing poetry, essays, short fiction and other bite-sized portions of intrigue for your delectation: some things old, some things new and something borrowed, all as part of the project. “