In presentations and school visits, when I’ve read out excerpts from my books, I’ve sometimes told listeners I didn’t remember actually writing that bit, often coded with a Stephen Fry style joke – ‘well now, that’s rather good though!’ It’s been strangely emotional this week though, laying out Fire Bringer and The Sight to go to eBooks, on Kindle and Ipad. Firstly because it really is the end of an era, and the end of having any truck with big, conventional publishers. That’s strange, after 12 years fighting to be a writer. Secondly though because it put me back in touch with my own characters, characters loved by many readers, like Rannoch, Crak, Rurl, Larka and Fell. They came back, like old friends, and with a sense that in taking back my erights I have taken back some power in my own storytelling, snatched away by the very people who should have protected it. It reminded me too that writer’s lives are not that lonely after all, largely because they go on long emotional journeys, with others actually living inside their heads and imaginations, like true friends. Sebastian Faulks is doing a UK TV series soon on how we often know the characters in fiction far more than we do each other, friends, family and lovers too, and I can’t wait.
I wish someone I loved in New York, as I say in a new afterword, and at my own publisher too, had understood how books like The Sight were so close to my own emotional ‘coal face’ though, and my philosophical struggles. Because then they might have seen me more clearly, without projecting so badly, and The Sight is precisely about projection and labels, and their danger. I wish too they had read the sequel to The Sight, Fell, because it is also a love letter, and in a sense the full expression of what was happening in America. That book is all about the redemptive power of balanced love, to bring the mind out of darkness, fear, negativity or despair. What is still eerie though is that in all that writing about seeing properly, and being seen, there is so much in all my books about eyes. The fact that Scream of the White Bear has such an astounding ‘coincidence’ in it to real life though, involving eyesight, and actually events that happened around me, might make even the most ‘rationally’ and sceptically minded stop to ask if it is not powerful proof of precognition. Proof of the very ‘powers’ of The Sight I am talking about, which is really the visionary understanding of the mind and consciousness, true imagination, beyond what we see in the every day. It is not ‘God’, though the language of spirit may be vitally important, it is about levels of language, understanding, maturity and consciousness. Many people believe, with all those New Age ‘Aquarian’ and Mayan prophecies, Mankind has to wake up to its real power, and so real responsibility too, and so increasingly do I. Perhaps there is another stage of consciousness and awareness we need to reach, and one so abused in quick, side-driven, morally sententious but privately ruthless New York.
I was chatting to an American last night though, who when I started to talk about it, shrugged as if it was par for the course. ‘New York, they cover you in warmth on the surface,’ he said, ‘then stab you in the back, but they don’t mean to. It’s an accident.’ Perhaps that ‘not meaning to’ is vital, because it is really is about a lack of awareness, a boxed-in disconnection, a sense of ‘rights’ without wider responsibility, and a failure to see what is at the other end of all that aggression, those labels, that high-minded and morally superior front, at the cost of real hearts, real lives, and real careers. At the cost of the human. It really isn’t enough any more to excuse it as an accident though, and there may be some motor driving it on in the ‘bright, lights, big city’ machine of NYC, but it is certainly not limited to there. Indeed, the greatest surprise was to find it so close to home, with so-called ‘friends’ in London too, like the author of ‘Hew, Screw and Glue’, who so disrespected everything by working with my ex, desperate to hop on a bandwagon. Still, there are other friends, other journeys, and they are coming back, with the return of a say in my own books. Perhaps Fell needs a sequel, but there are certainly exciting adventures to come. DCD