William Wall: hearing an odd remark, seeing the story

The author on his writing roots, from a childhood illness to inspiration as a habit of paying attention in a certain way – not just to conversations or events but also to art

William Wall: For me all writing is important. I work as hard on emails as I do on poems. I edit my mobile phone messages – I even punctuate them and have been known to use semi-colons (sometimes correctly). Photograph: Harry Moore

William Wall: For me all writing is important. I work as hard on emails as I do on poems. I edit my mobile phone messages – I even punctuate them and have been known to use semi-colons (sometimes correctly). Photograph: Harry Moore

I hear voices a lot – chance remarks, odd ways of saying things. Sometimes it’s a casual phrase that I hear in a different way; I hear the oddity of it rather than the meaning. These stories are full of those oddities: “I bought a heart”; “For fun times phone dodger” (from the inside of a toilet stall in Dublin Airport); “interacting with the ghosts”; “It was sad but sooner or later I just know this shit is going to change for me” etc.

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