Isn’t answering a question like this one of the most difficult of challenges? Many people spend a lifetime trying to work out who they are and are cheated by time’s scythe before the work is finished.
Aren’t those ads on mating sites where people sum themselves up with off-the-shelf biographies that glide effortlessly on the skates of cliche and hyperbole, difficult to swallow much less to fathom? If the medium is the message then today’s world is full of unblemished, astoundingly available and extraordinarily charismatic individuals just waiting for your call to arms. What about the CV that bears as little relation to the person sitting in front of you for interview as the Complete Works of Shakespeare does to the monkey proudly clutching it. In other words when we are asked for our self-opinion, we may be economical with the truth and spendthrifts with our lies.
So you’d better have the salt ready for pinching as I proceed with the task in hand!
I have always considered myself an author despite forty years of deferred gratification while I pursued an academic career. Being a qualitative researcher allowed me to practise the arts of writing, though within the strict proscriptions of a scholarly straitjacket. I housed myself in words, daily. I interrogated the world of people and events and tried to achieve accurate portrayals of them. All the while I was consciously priming myself to release my imagination. Everything on my web site has been written within the last ten years. I could say that you will know me if you read my books. The nature of the author leaks out from his words. Characters are facets of his personality. Environments are the places he has travelled in mind and body. Plots are his fantasies and realities.
Maybe the fact that I was born in India, have worked in Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia and have had a life-long devotion to Zen has given me a different perspective on life than most. It may have made me a displaced person, a nomad, not tied to the earth. An eternal outsider trying to make sense of what is going on. I live now in the Pyrenees in the south of France. It’s a paradoxical existence in some ways. I spend hours alone with my laptop, yet my imagination throngs with the demands of characters and events. It is the right place to be at this time.
An old adage from my researcher days seems pertinent. You write yourself into knowledge. This probably goes some way to answer the question in the title.
The more I write, the more I know who I am.