I write fiction, creative nonfiction and sometimes I dabble in prose poetry. My work has appeared in Hinterland, Litro, Backlash Press, Porridge, The Lincoln Review, The Blue Nib and Elsewhere, and is forthcoming in Storgy. For many years I taught Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and now teach students from across the world at Advanced Studies in England.
Why I Write
In Maya Angelou’s first memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, she said, ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’ She told her story with a clear-eyed honesty, and when I read that line I felt the complicated shame of keeping my own secrets in comparison to the simplicity of telling the truth. I had been writing fiction for many years but was beginning to write nonfiction in the form of personal essays, and discovered that once I began telling the truth, it was very difficult to stop.
Of course I am human so I still have my secrets, but I try to tip the balance towards honesty, and I’ve discovered that writing is a way of finding the truth when it has been mired in mystery and muddled perception. If I can achieve a fraction of the elegance and grace that Angelou showed through laying words onto the page, it will be worth the knotted pain of cracking open a difficult truth. And somewhere along the way, perhaps enlightenment comes.