Jenny from Sydney, Australia asked: How did you become interested in writing?
I wonder sometimes what came first, the stories or the intention to write them?
I think, in a sense, I’ve always lived posthumously. Even when I really got myself into trouble as a kid, part of me knew that the incident I was caught up in would make a great story and that I had to go through with it.
I was always able to take a view of myself from above looking down on the scene, and I could laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. I could see the comedy of it in the third person.
I didn’t want to be one of those people who toes the line, who never breaks a rule, and who therefore grows old without having any stories to tell. Stories were always important to me.
I also think that one of my great motivations as a writer is a hatred or perhaps a fear of Time. A horror at the thought that all these stories will simply fade away, that once these lives are gone no one will ever remember them. I’ve always had a penchant for nostalgia. It’s a melancholy nostalgia in a sense, but it’s sadly beautiful as well.
” A horror at the thought that all these stories will simply fade away, that once these lives are gone no one will ever remember them.”
This reminds me of Ivan Doig’s non-fiction work, “Winter Brothers: A Season at the Edge of America”, about James G. Swan, who lived in Port Townsend, Washington in the 19th Century. He had an amazing and varied career, and kept not one, but two diaries for many years. What little is known about many of the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest is due to him and his passion for observation, collecting and compiling information. I fell in love with him just by reading some of his writing, and about him, 100 years after he died, so there’s hope, Murdock.