I grew up in a wonderful and magical home. It was set amongst the heather covered hills in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The third of four children, I went about my day unnoticed. There wasn’t a father. Most of the time I was found observing my mother or trying to get her attention. She sought to find simple pleasures that masked her emotional isolation. When the late-arrival fourth child came along, he became everyone’s focus of attention. I disappeared from sight.
I spent my days alone exploring the woods and rivers. I had adventures with animals, warriors, ghouls and dragons. There were wars and disasters, victories and defeats. I built shelters and made homes for all my characters amongst the bushes and natural caves. We ventured out along steep river banks, I even blew one up with a homemade incendiary device. The conversations were illuminating and adventurous. In the rain, my world glistened and shimmered. It smelled earthy and visceral. I recognised the tracks left by mythological creatures. I saw strangers amongst the shadows and shapes of my worlds. Eyes peering through bushes and from deep, dark places amongst the rocks.
Local farmworkers saw me at play and unbeknown to me, they watched over my world to see that I was safe. Providing vicarious care through observing me happy in my world. They were invisible to me but I was always seen by them.
At seven years old I became a consummate storyteller. I had vivid recall and access to a world of imaginary beasts and beings. I discovered I was also very good at lying. Never bad or harmful things, things I made up and managed to make plausible or convincing. I also learned how to steal things. Not breaking and entering, petty theft of things I wanted to use or loose change so I could buy sweets. My mother saw through all this, of course, but to me, nobody ever knew what I was up to. I was way too smart for them.
On Monday and Wednesday, my nana came for tea. That meant 6d (2 ½ p) a time. She had a bit of a moustache and was becoming more and more bonkers. There weren’t any names or labels for what ailed her. Nor any other well known descriptions of serious mental health issues back then. She was just a bit bonkers. On Tuesday’s, Mary Grace came for lunch. Mary Grace was in her forties and wore a pencil skirt, tight blouse, stockings and suspenders. My job, was to roll around on the kitchen floor, discovering a whole range of secrets. They spoke about life and love in the ’60s. But most of the time I was invisible to them.
I have always written but it was dry and technical stuff. I’ve hacked a few newspaper columns about work. I spent my twenties as an Engineer in Africa, I was held at gunpoint (13 times) and just missed being blown up by a bomb. They estimated it was by around seven minutes. In my thirties, I started a relationship with my God. This was a turning point for me. I was conscious of a kinder life happening all around and indeed it was even happening within and to me. I went to find my real father and this was the foundation for me becoming a writer. I started to know who I was.
Writing came late to me. It isn’t a regret, it is the right time for me to write. I’m troubled by the cruel and inhuman world I see, the nature of human greed and the suffering it all causes. I see the story of this world unfolding before me and I can see a terrifying outcome. I grew up in an era when nobody ever spoke in billions. There weren’t any billionaires. It was a mythical and silly figure. It had no meaning and it was way beyond all reason and understanding. It was an irrelevance as it could never be real or contained within any human need or outcome. Even our galaxies were referred to as millions and millions of stars. There weren’t billions of them like there is now.
Yet still, I am fixated by how the word ‘billion‘ channels and funnels all thought about value and wealth. How it is the pinnacle of achievement and how it somehow became a dream for mankind to aspire to. I knew what the love of it would mean to us ordinary beings.
As a young man, I saw the seeds of change cultivated by a Prime Minister called Margaret Thatcher. She unleashed the ‘everything now’ psyche on a starving and impoverished nation. We gorged on the rich and well stocked banquets of greed. The mythical money gods made up money they didn’t own. The careless money men filled the troughs to overflowing.
Then, as money fed our unquenchable appetite for it and as it fuelled our insatiable consumption, we birthed the National Lottery. We could, for a few coins, become millionaires overnight. Shortly after, it was, reality TV and instant fame shows. This altered the mindset of a nation. And within one generation of self obsessed and self entitled Millennials, we had it all. Handed to us on a plate. It was this change that led us to a frenzy of hatred and anger. To division and exclusion. To prejudice and bigotry. We believed that we can do whatever we want.
I’m not immune to this new era of life. I’m not any more distinct in my observance of morality than they are. I’m a normal, healthy guy, albeit I’m more aware of the foulness of the swill we consume. The trough, now filled to the brim, continues to feed us as we gorge ourselves to death. Writing is my distraction. My writing will shine a light on it all.
These writings reflect my experiences. My experiences are broad and wonderful. The stories are my version of fictional truths infused into the lives that live within my books. They are both believable and recognisable. They are about the people I have met along the way and how I have blended them into my heroes and villains.
I hope you enjoy my words, they are for you and about you. I hope you share them with others. I expect neither agreement nor collusion with my ramblings, my devices or my many vices. I will stimulate and provoke you into thoughts and places that you may never have been to before.