In my new novel, What Is Found, What Is Lost, one of the main protagonists (there are four) reflects that “time was a loop, from now to then and back again.” Freddie, who changed her name at age twenty-one, and moved Heaven and earth to put a troubled past behind her, finds that the past always lays claim sooner or later. She has no choice but to accept this, and navigates as best as she can.
Today I find that’s it not so much the past that cannot be escaped, but essential truths, immutable facets of ourselves, the starting point, or what V.S. Naipaul called “the center.”
It’s tempting to think of one’s career as following a straight line – a logical series of steps. One “climbs the ladder” to “get to the top.” I have to believe that a lot of careers are built exactly this way. One achievement makes way for the next bigger one, and so on.
Not so with writing – my writing, that is. For me it’s like spending decades…