If I’ve met you, if you have spent more than half an hour with me, the odds are good that I’ve told you a story. If you’ve spent longer than 2 hours with me, I’ve certainly told you a story. And I have probably lied while doing it.
The thing is, what has driven me towards writing is not my love of the written word. It’s not a desire to craft the most perfect and beautiful sentence available in the English language. I just want to tell you a story.
When I was a kid I used to get into trouble a lot for lying. Sometimes it was malicious, sometimes it was a desperate attempt to get out of trouble. But a good number of times it was purely to entertain the people I was talking to.
Because the thing is, I love telling stories, I love taking people on a journey through events and people. Writing is just how I am doing it at the moment.
Now, to be fair, it has taken me a good few years to fully realise this. I have been interested in making films, I have written comics, I’ve plotted out epic works and written flash fiction. The delivery of each of those ideas has taken on its own shape. Why should I try to force something that is clearly better as a comic into a prose format? If it’s going to affect the way I tell the story, then I’m not interested.
Now then, the fact that I have lied to you.
Often, it’ll have been a little lie, a slight adjustment to a true story that I think punches it up a bit. Maybe someone was louder, maybe their injury came from a stupid move not a simple accident. Maybe someone yelled at a goth in the street instead of just muttering angrily to me. Who knows? Half the time these days, even I’ve let the story blur the truth in my mind.
But other times, it will have been pure fiction from start to finish. And it is never to hurt someone, these stories are always about people you’ll never meet and won’t get the names of. The stories are almost always built around a punchline or gag I just thought up and want to weave into a little tale for you.
The only way to tell usually is to ask me to tell the story again sober/the next day. If I’m blank, if I have no idea what you mean, then that story was a lie.
But you probably laughed at it, maybe we had a discussion of ethics because of it. But no-one was hurt by it.
So then, why am I still writing? Why am I still struggling at this prose stuff to tell you my stories?
A few reasons.
Firstly, it’s the most immediate way for me to tell a tale to a large-ish number of people. Plus, it will sit out there waiting to be discovered for a long time.
Secondly, there’s no-one else I have to involve. Especially now. I don’t have to have an editor or publisher to tell you tales. I can write them, fix the spelling and grammar as best I can and slap it onto the web. Then as you find errors I can fix them and the story evolves a little but awaits someone who wants it with infinite patience.
Thirdly, and most importantly to me, there’s no budget. If I want to write something that will take years to finish, then no-one can stop me. If it’s a film or a comic, then there are budgets and people who can close it down and take it away from me if they choose. If all it is is words, then the words are mine and I will tell you the whole story, or as much of it as I choose.
But I’m not only going to write. Like I say, some stories are built for different delivery mechanisms. I have finally discovered, perhaps rediscovered or repurposed an existing idea that I can beat until it works for me. And again, this idea has no intermediaries. All I need is me and equipment I already own.
I still want to make a film, but getting people to be in it is the hard part.
I’d still like to write more comics, but finding an artist who will do it for nothing as I currently have nothing, is hard.
I want to write an audio drama or comedy – because it’s something I haven’t done yet.
A Bollywood film, aHong Kongfilm, something in first person as a pure stream of fictional non-sequiters. All of these things I want to get around to. But not all of them are in my hands, so I stay with writing for now.
I just want to tell you stories.