Writing is a brave thing to do, a very brave thing. It takes courage to say what you mean and to mean what you say. The main thing is to ignore political correctness and be totally honest about how you see the world and the people in it. If you see through a glass darkly or a glass half empty that’s fine; carry on seeing that way and get on with the writing: it’s what real writers do, they keep writing, churning out the words on a daily basis, for as George Orwell said, a writer never stops working.
Knowing what you want to say and finding the best way of saying it, is the writing game in a nutshell – a very hard nutshell to crack. Try to think a lot and feel as much as possible; try to see life as both a comedy and a tragedy. Try to be interested in everything, though some things more than others, according to inclination and taste. The past is one of my preoccupations. I see it as a strange, slightly unreal place, definitely a foreign country where pain was the order of the day; an evil place which, like all evil, attracts. Though its clothes were a lot more interesting, the past, for me, is scary as well as weird. I try to make links with my own time, but I often fail; seeing nothing wrong with the world, then or now, except the people in it, is about as far as I usually get.
So apart from the past, where else am I coming from and going to? I do think it’s important to get to know yourself and like, if not love, what you see. I like silence, the peace and quiet of the countryside untrammeled by developers who’d concrete the lot if they got the chance. I enjoy bad weather, and prefer winter to summer, autumn to spring. I love the sea, the moon and the moors; a sense of mystery and keeping the mystery alive. I’m interested in good versus evil; in love and hate, pride, greed, envy and the deadly-sinned makeup of human beings; whether human nature is perfectible or indelibly flawed. There’s also bravery and cowardice in my note-book, happiness and misery, God, the Devil and life after death. And consumer-driven capitalism as the scourge of humankind, the economics of feasible Marxism; the battle of the sexes, as relevant today as ever it was; and the meaning of manhood and womanhood and who bears the blame for messing up the world; and race, as pre-eminent as sex and just as divisive, and multi-culturism as blessing or curse …
Which brings me back to where I started: to freedom of speech, everyone and everything as fair game to be shot down: to the right to say it because to publish or be damned is your birthright.