The Shell

by Peter Cherches


Microsoft Word - The Shell.doc

[Editor’s Note: Click on the triptych for a full view.]

Peter Cherches has been called “one of the innovators of the short short story” (Publishers Weekly). For over three decades his prose work has focused on the ultra-minimal, culminating in his most recent collection of short prose sequences, Lift Your Right Arm (Pelekinesis, 2013), which Luc Sante called “the equivalent of a whole shelf of books.”

Yours is one of our first triptychs. What did you think of the process/product?

    I’ve always been somewhat of a “conceptual” writer, though, unlike the writers of the current conceptual poetry movement, I see concept as a means rather than an end; ultimately, what matters most to me is the quality of my sentences. And my work has been informed by music and visual art as much as by literature. So when I saw the call for triptychs I immediately knew it was something that would be right up my alley. Much of my work is self-reflexive, and lately I’ve been playing around a lot with autobiographical material as well as fake autobiography. This form allowed me to indulge all these impulses. In the left column I became the character of author commenting on the work. In the right column I could add the equivalent of footnotes, some of which intersect with the “story” only by coincidence. So, then, is that “the piece” in the middle column, or are all three columns the piece? I love having made something that could lead me to me ask that question. And maybe this is the fourth column of a tetraptych.
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