At the edge
I was born at the edge.
The sea. A beach. A cliff. Woods. The wind. Always the wind.
Being small, I kept to the edge. Of the playground. Of the crowd. Watching. Wary.
My mother said: ‘Stop staring.’
I found a job which required me to stare. To watch other people. To become them in stories together – sometimes for others. To try to understand. To ask questions. Always questions.
Children. Teenagers. Adults. Older folk. Curious people. Sad people. Exhilarating people.
I continue to stare . . . and listen.
Stories arrive most mornings. Often fully formed.
Characters chatter away. Rewind. Say it again – differently.
Editing is making it sound better – more authentic.
Stories twist and turn. I write like I read.
I’ve been reading, writing, telling stories to myself, with others and for others for as long as I can remember. I grew up with myths and legends and have never really grown out of them – so it’s not surprising my current writing reflects that.
As a drama teacher for nearly thirty years, I have been inventing and developing stories, to explore ideas and events and sometimes to present them through performance, adapting and staging theatre pieces and eventually writing plays with and for young people.
Now I’m writing for myself.
I’m still curious about the edge of things – those things still unexplained or disturbing. Questions which remain not completely answered – the power a sense of place has over people – how history affects our lives, often without us being aware of it.
All my novels are set in places I know well and at a time of my life – late 70s/early 80s - when big changes were occurring to me as well as all around me. My memory of those times seems vivid, whilst the more recent past is a blur.
Here are two inspirational quotes which encourage my writing.
‘The novel is not solely an art, even less so a profession. It is above all a passion that takes hold of you completely, that enslaves you. It is a need, in a word the need perhaps to escape from yourself, to live just as you like, at least for a while, in a world of your own choosing . . . and above all as a means to exorcise your demons by giving them a form and casting them out into the world . . .’
'My paintings are about things I have done and things I wish I could do. They are about sad, unhappy people, who are driven by lust.'