Little people, big feelings

I haven't answered a reader's question for a while, so I thought it'd be a good way to start this year's blogs.  I hope no one is even for a second imagining I can't think of anything else to prattle about?!

That wouldn't be so, in fairness.  There's lots going on - the play, the trip to Geneva, ideas for a new tvdetective book - but it was such a penetrating question, which made me reflect hard, I thought it deserved a reply.

It was this - why does Dan never mention, nor even think about children?  And further, given the - extraordinary, highly speculative! - theory that there's much of me in Dan, and likewise, what of my own views of youngsters?

There are indeed similarities between our "hero" (my very strong quotes!) and me. Like him, I always knew from an early age that I didn't want to have children.  At that time, I couldn't explain why.  It was just something I knew. 

Now I've come to believe it's down to a couple of things. Firstly that I had an unconventional childhood, which wasn't always contented - excuse me for not going into details, that's all very sensitive - and secondly, I think it's in the genes. 

Both Dan and I suffer from this tendency to melodrama, to see the world in shades of blue, not to mention what Churchill always so aptly called the Black Dog - or The Swamp, as Dan knows it.  And never would he want to hand that suffering on to a child. 

Having your own troubles is one thing. But seeing one you love suffer so much, and knowing you are partly responsible, and that's there's nothing you can do to change it - that's very hard to bear.

So they, I think, be the reasons for the lack of youngsters in the tvdetective books. That's not to say there aren't any.  I do appreciate there are some very happy families out there.  Hence Adam and his domestic contentment, even though Tom is now approaching the teenage years, which could make life for our irascible detective rather more challenging!

However, as with the best of stories, there's a twist to the tale, or two in this case.  Firstly, of all I do it's the working with kids, showing them the way to a career in the media, or teaching writing, which I enjoy the most.  And secondly, and most extraordinarily, there's my daughter Niamh.

We met when she was two, and our relationship - unlike so many others - has never faltered, only grown.  One of the most touching experiences of my life was when she asked me to be her Dad - to the horror of her mum, and quite understandably! - and then insisted I remained in her life, even if mum and I were no longer together.

I feel blessed in many ways, but to have Niamh, when I had neither hope nor expectation of a daughter, is the greatest of joys.  So thank you life, even in this cold darkness of a midweek January morning, there is some sunshine to be found somewhere.

A final thought for this ramble - it's often the case with the blogs that I have no idea where they'll lead.  I just start writing, to make them as they should be, an honest sweep of feelings. And sometimes they can really run.

I shall file this now before I have second thoughts and delete it.  It's from the heart, and however sensitive such emotions may be, why shy away from them?

If you've got a question you'd like to ask about the tvdetective books, or any area of my writing or education work, you can get in touch via the contact page of the site -  I shall try to answer a little more straightforwardly in future!