I like to think that I’m one of those people who make the best of things, who gets on with life. It seems to me to beat the alternative. My child hood set the pattern and it’s one that has continued ever since. Even those years from 15 until I was 27 in the army, I made the best of a bad situation. A degree of black humour and some, seemingly, submissive but, actually, subversive behaviour saw me through. Seven years in, somewhat anarchic, architectural practice was no real problem, even if it was a trifle boring at times. Again, I got by through doing my own thing as much as I was able. Being a single parent student was fun. For the first time in my life, I was me, looking after the two people who were the most important in my life. I was at home with myself. Working in the voluntary sector too, was just an extension of my personality. Indeed, the six years at the city farm in Leeds were ones in which I went into work each day just as me and did what I knew needed to be done. Except for one particular job, to a slightly lesser degree, this was so in my other work as a charity Director.
It has, however, been the last three years when I have done much more of what I’ve long wanted to do, ie write books. Something I had always persuaded myself that was beyond me. Yet, through a little application of what my wife calls my “incredible perseverance”, I managed to stick at the first one. Contrary to what I’d expected, it did come together and, after five days, I found that I’d written thousands of words. Interestingly, once I built up a rhythm, the words came out straight from my heart onto the computer screen. It seemed as though someone else was doing it for me. It has been that way ever since. Although I often need to force myself to get down to it, once I do, something takes over. Words fall out in the right order in ways that I hadn’t imagined when I started on any particular day. I am nearly always surprised at the phraseology and the quality of the writing. Apologies for the conceitedness.
So it has been for me recently. For some reason, I have put of finishing my third book until earlier this week. Then I thought that I really should get down to it. And the words, as usual, have flowed in ways that I hadn’t envisaged. Perhaps that’s what happens when you do what you enjoy. Right now, making a decent living out of it would be the icing on the cake. Let’s hope that Jeanette Winterson gets the chance to read the copy of “The Other Side of the Doors” that I gave her on Wednesday evening.