Before: published 20 summers ago

“Tender, sublimely economical” — SPIN

​I started writing Before in early October 1995, in Leith, Edinburgh, a few weeks before I moved to Phoenix, Arizona. I finished it in February 1996, and it was published by the short-lived but influential Incommunicado Press in the summer of 1997.

It ​was my transitional book. As I wrote it, I felt as though I was writing on the very edge of meaninglessness, of silence, of not writing at all. It was an attempt to discover meaning without plot or pattern, to be honest and not fudge anything, not hide behind literary tricks or devices. From page to page, I never knew where I was going to take it or where it was going to take me. I think it has a meaning that can’t be explained in words, but is found between the words, between the lines, in the silences.

Originally published at