Sunday, October 7, 2012
I’ve just returned to Ghana after five months, mostly in France but also in the UK and Spain. During this time I have to say that one or two people have really irritated me by the blithe way they have discovered I am an author and then interjected, “I’ve been meaning to write a novel”, or “When I have some time I’ll write a novel”. In those simple sentences they effectively diminish your achievement at not only writing novels but completing them! Having sufficient purpose to work at your art in a disciplined way and forcing your path through the brambles and thickets of stubborn and willful characters, cul de sacs in your plots and distractions from outside your fingers and brain is quite a challenge and these would be authors have no notion of it.
In the brain there appears to be some defective mechanism that would stop you doing all this – let’s call it fulfilling your destiny. It seems to operate from the simplest of tasks to the most severe. I have just done some gym work before settling down to the keys. It was an effort to go and start. The actual exercise was not unduly hard and was even pleasurable in a sober kind of way. Such an essential part of my daily round may well keep me alive for longer. Certainly I have not succumbed to paunchiness or a multiplicity of chins. Yet even knowing it is good for me both from a vain and physical point of view does not have me go to the gym with a light heart. I go there grumbling. Similarly I have not practised French for three days or picked up the guitar. The retrograde part of my brain resists me doing anything regularly which is for my own good. People admire my productivity but have no notion what an hour by hour battle is involved.
I think that is why I wrote Azimuth. The whole enterprise is about Purpose – probably the one thing that differentiates people into classes, from the spineless sloth to the hyperactive renaissance artist.