A question that often comes up, particularly when I do a talk about the tvdetective books, is - why do I write?
I don't think I've ever found a satisfactory answer. Sometimes I go on about a feeling inside, some drive or calling, or the desire to amuse / entertain people. But there is another good reason and perhaps a little deeper one, which I didn't realise when I started out.
Writing is a great way to learn about life.
I love the whole education thing. I think that's partly why I chose this strange career as a hack - you get to meet so many people, go to so many places and see such extraordinary events. It all means you learn something (and usually quite a chunk) every day.
Maybe it's also why I enjoy the education work, passing on to others the few things I've worked out about this great game called life.
Anyway, that's a digression. What I was thinking about writing is how much it teaches you, and in particular about one area of life, perhaps the most important of all.
I've learnt so much about characters since I've been scribbling; what makes people the way they are and how it influences their reaction to any given situation. The contrasts and conflicts between the surface and the reality. The debate about the influence of nature and nurture. Instinct versus rationale. All that stuff which goes into making people.
There's been loads more besides, but that's probably the most important for me. I suspect I was always a people watcher. But now it's become more of an addiction. I just love studying people and trying to feel my way below the surface (metaphorically!) to find their drivers, passions, motivations and even detestations.
An additional small aside (can't resist it!) - another great part of that has been the play. The idea of being able to convey character only through words and actions. How am I ever going to get to grips with that?!
Ah, you'll be able to find out, and not so very far away now. It's just seven weeks until An Unnecessary Murder opens (not that I'm counting), and all is still ticking along nicely. More of that as we get closer to the night itself (there's additional info on the News and Events page, if you require it - www.thetvdetective.com/news.html )
Finally for this blog, another choice of tune, and this time on the theme of learning about life and exploring the mind. Try The Windmills of Your Mind (Noel Harrison version) for its haunting melodies and evocative lyrics. Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel..