Sir F. Chook, Inventor of Leopard Oil

Likeness captured upon a daguerrotype machine in Japan, July 1891

Lettres

Wherein the Author reflects upon certain topical & personal issues of the Day.

Writing From The Criminal Side Of The Brain

Penned upon the 30th of July, 2008

I’m not really a writer, as longtime FrillyShirt readers will attest. An essayist, perhaps, of the amateur sort, but when my pen touches fiction, it’s generally in a satirical style – nonsense stories of flying poets and crossdressing superheroes. It’s fun playing with antiquated uses of the English language, too – for instance, when a fellow gets worked up over his sister’s suitor’s outlandish behaviour:

“Blow me!” he ejaculated, growing evermore aroused, “the way he made love to you was awfully queer!”

You get the idea. I am occasionally tempted, though, to put my characters through a bona fide story. Lucifer Marigolds, for instance, is a hero in the Lovecraftian mold, which could be very fun to write. I’ve been working on a counterpart to him, someone in the tradition of the gentleman thief. History has seen a few of these: Arsène Lupin, as I’ve said before, while he has a few good schemes, is too much of a grandstanding lout for my tastes. Raffles is a fairly strong character, but his earliest stories are probably his best – clever burglaries in evening wear under overcoats, taking the loot and damning society.

Yahtzee Croshaw’s Trilby seems to be approaching the role from the other side – a professional thief who seeks to live up to gentlemanly standards. Of course, his stories end up quite Lovecraftian themselves – haunted mansions and pain cults and Wales – but he’s intelligent and droll as well as being dapper as hell.

Thus, I’m tinkering with my new character, who may well be crying out for a story: Winston Lewisham, Gentleman Thief! Bookish medievalist by day, methodical burglar by night. More on Winston soon.


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