Every family has its mythologies; I’m told that as a child I wrote short stories and read them to whoever would listen. But whatever the truth of it, writing became something of a passion. I contributed to and edited school, college and university magazines, I wrote sketches and plays for local amateur dramatic societies, parodies for school concerts, and an undergraduate novel that, thankfully, was stillborn. It is rightly said, here in France, “un jour sans vin, c’est comme un jour sans soleil.” To drinking wine I have to add reading and writing. I must read and write every day, it’s obsessive, but why, I don’t really know. Childhood dyslexia lingered through my teens and my wanting to write was thought to be an anomaly as stubborn as the infliction, an antithesis, like the guitarist with missing fingers, the one-handed pianist or the blind choreographer. Maybe my urge to write is tucked away in a gene somewhere; maybe I write because it was quite the best thing I did at school where I wrote my friends’ essays in return for their help with mathematics and other subjects I found incomprehensible.
The non-fiction, listed on the “Books” page, takes its energy from my interest in comparative East-West philosophy. I find it compellingly fascinating why people believe what they believe; regardless of whether or not these beliefs are expressed as a religious or secular commitment, they fire huge energy and passion. This has occupied me professionally as a tutor colleges and universities; it also reflects a personal quest for meaning which remains an unfinished journey.
This fascination with what people believe and why they believe it is carried to my fiction. I write about why people do what they do and say what the say, and about how the energies forming their personalities condition their attitudes, values and behaviour. In all the arts, drama is about conflict between people, we make war, we fight physically and verbally, but the greater conflict lies within us, the former is the outworking of the latter.
What am I writing now?
A novel, The Long Tail of Terror. The title is taken from a quotation, “No one is born just once. If you’re lucky, you’ll emerge again in someone’s arms; or unlucky, wake when the long tail of terror brushes the inside of your skull.” It’s from Anne Michaels’s memorable novel, Fugitive Pieces.