In The Beginning

I've been asked several times to explain how I came to write novels at such an 'advanced age'. Of course I dom't like even to acknowledge that my age is advanced or that it relates in any way to the product of my writing, but in these, our times, such things have an irrational importance they may not have had in times gone by. So anyway I decided to write a short account, and am going to publish it here on my blog in three parts; one each day ...

Bryan Islip: On writing Going with Gabriel

1955, Cambridge. 20 year old ex R.A.F. national serviceman, now husband, father, warehouseman, finishes and closes his library copy of Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls. He is completely overwhelmed by the telling of the story and by the story itself, especially its ending. His sense of awe at the sheer power of those fictional words will stay with him for all of his life. The young man may have seen the inside of his last schoolroom before his fifteenth birthday but he had known then and knows now even more that one day he himself will be a writer. Yes, a published writer; hopefully a good one. In the beginning was the word.

Fast forward through all the usual constraints of marriage, mortgage and moderation in all things: the joys and heartaches of four children growing up; career progression up the industrial marketing ladder to national / international directorship; wife in her mid-30’s a victim of multiple schlerosis that, twenty five years later will claim her life. He exchanges employment for self employment in the middle east, gains second wife Delia and two more ‘children’. And still the dream lives on, each of the thousands of his business letters as carefully composed as any Hemingway paragraph. But he composes poems in hotel rooms and airports; writes short stories and the first three parts of a novel about a young girl aspiring to become a snooker star - all the fictions culled from experience distilled by emotion, garnished with imagination, driven by ... what?

To be continued ...

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