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Connecting with the Inner Self

June 21, 2011

By Paul Lawrence

My mum won’t read my books. She says they’re too gruesome and nasty and keeps asking me if I can write something nicer. But I’m not fascinated by the bright side; I’m fascinated by the dark side.

When I was a kid, I read horror stories, until I’d had enough. When videos first came out, I watched gory films, until I’d had enough. But still I want more.

I want to know how it is that men can rape small children. I want to know how it is that a mother can kill her baby in a microwave. I want to know how it is that a father can throw his kids off a bridge because he’s angry with his wife. Because if one man is capable of such deeds, then aren’t all men?

I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe in a simple dichotomous world where half the people go to heaven and half the people go to Hell. I believe in the ancient, complex, world of the human being, a lineage of which we are all a part.

I started writing about London in the 17th century because I wanted to understand what a society was like that condoned public execution, that hung women by the neck because they were old and owned a cat, that murdered people because of their religious beliefs. Of course I didn’t have to go back in history to explore those phenomena, but I didn’t want to write about other people doing those things, I wanted to write about my people doing those things, my ancestors. After all, three hundred years ago isn’t such a long time ago; just three (long) lives laid end to end.

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