This is the Story of Who I Am
This is the story of who I am.
All stories begin with an ‘event’, a traumatic experience that leaves the protagonist all shook -up, emotional and unsettled. Our hero quickly establishes a goal, a pathway to somewhere safe and comfortable, and embarks upon an epic voyage of twists and turns.
I’m guessing the most traumatic experience in my life was being born. I don’t remember much about it, but no other event since seems to hold the same significance. Like most other people, I have been trying to make sense of being born ever since it happened. What is life for, what is it all about?
Victor Frankl tells us in ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ that there is no general meaning of life, rather the specific meaning of our individual life at any given point in time. There can be no grand plan, he says, rather life is like a movie. It’s only when you get to the end of the film that the overall meaning becomes clear. Nevertheless we search for meaning, indeed Frankl suggests it is our quest for meaning that keeps us alive.
Stories are meaning-full. Stories are about people, and their attempts to fulfill their own personal meaning. We have an insatiable appetite for well-crafted stories because they feed our deepest need – the need to understand our own individual purpose in life.
I am a psychology student, who became a business executive, who became an executive coach, consultant and psychotherapist, who also writes novels. What ties this rag-bag of activities together is storytelling.
When I was a psychology student I was interested in people; why they behave the way they do. When I was a business executive I was interested in how to engage with others and inspire them to derring-do. As a coach I began to realise that change starts with a story – the story we tell ourselves that constitutes who we are as people. As coach and psychotherapist I help people surface their stories; the beliefs and assumptions they take for granted that underpin their self identity, and I help them rewrite those stories.
As a writer of novels I have come to realise all stories stand or fall according to the character created. Protagonists must be real. They must be likeable, or at least redeemable, and the story must relate a step in their own search for meaning, a story that will be of interest to the reader. My commitment to writing has grown as I have come to understand this better.
I have had two novels published so far, ‘The Sweet Smell of Decay’ and ‘A Plague of Sinners’, the first two books in the Chronicles of Harry Lytle. I hope you find him redeemable, if not likeable, and enjoy his journey of self discovery.
I also look forward to sharing with you some of the things I’ve learned along the way in writing these books, chronicles of my own voyage of self discovery in my quest to become a better writer. In the hope that my experiences will be of value as you seek to create your own special writing self.