People to whom nothing has ever happened cannot understand the unimportance of events.
I don’t think there’s such a thing as autobiographical fiction. If I say it happened, it happened, even if only in my mind.
All I write about is what’s happened to me and to people I know, and the better I know them, the more likely they are to be written about.
It’s the classic story form. All staying equal, or proving equal, or being equal, this will all continue, and the next time around, we’ll move on to see what happened to Harry after he dove in the river, or who his friend John really was, and so on.
My father went into the armed service and I never saw my mother – I don’t know what happened to her.
The same sort of thing happened in my dispute with the National Trust book: Follies: A National Trust Guide, which implied that the only pleasure you can get from Folly architecture is by calling the architect mad, and by laughing at the architecture.
I have a novel that I can write. It’s about three soldiers from Somalia. Some babies have been disappearing up on 144th Street, and I speculate later on what happened to them and how they might have been got back. These guys are dead, all three, and they have a chance in the afterlife to do something they should have done when they were alive.
I suppose what’s happened recently has confirmed suspicions I voiced in the book, and I think made clearer some of those things that I point out. For instance I have a section of the book where I talk about the possibility of torture.
In the final analysis, the questions of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it happened.
Migrants all over the world are pushed and pulled across borders by hunger, terror and climate change. It happened to my own family.