I have unusually coloured eyes: marbled green-grey with a rim of hazel brown. Each could be a pond in a wood, a rockpool in the North Sea, some strange well.I don’t see the world the same way as everyone else: no-one does. Those who know me well might say I have a more off-kilter view than most. So many things which are popular I do not get.
Yet I hope I’m not a snob about them. I have no interest in Love Island, football, celebrity fashion or soap operas for a start off. It doesn’t mean I disapprove of any number of things which people get a great deal of pleasure from. I rather wish I did – but I can’t and I won’t fake it.
I tried at school, of course, to ‘fit in’. It always went horribly wrong. I had far more genuine interest in Christopher Lee ( yes, the Hammer horror films star) than David Cassidy or Donny Osmond. Pop culture in the main isn’t a shared experience for me. Only certain oddments. Postgate & Firmin are a case in point. Forget Bagpuss – give me Noggin the Nog, and that weird episode of The Clangers where the narrator went off on one about politics. ( Maybe that’s why I’m a bit of an anarchist?)
I’ve felt bad for years that I can’t do contemporary fiction, and that I’m not ‘down with the kids’ (tee hee). But I never have been – even when I was one. So it’s unlikely now.
I so admire those who can, who come at real life with intelligence and compassion and insight. They equip their readers with precision tools for life as it is now.
Perhaps my role is different. Perhaps because I present other worlds, I can offer alternatives for escape and recuperation. Like a really good game that takes you out of it all for a while, I can take my readers across the borders into strange lands. Not all of them are enchanted – but there will be adventures.
Sometimes, like certain hobbits, you have to go away before you can deal with what waits at home.