• Ian Patrick

Loss, Writing and Change


Last scene from the film Fight Club

I was driving back from Nottingham last week listening to an Audible book about the making of the TV show, The Wire. Cast members were being interviewed and reflecting on their experience during the making of the series. Some were reminiscing on when they’d been killed off and how it had affected them. They were upset and some felt they didn’t deserve to be cut so soon. As this was happening I saw a man at the roadside in the central reservation.

He was wearing a yellow reflective jacket and attaching some flowers to a crash barrier. He wasn’t a road worker he was creating a memorial to a victim of a road accident.

The stark contrast between reality and fiction right there in front of me. There’s many a time I’ve seen these roadside memorials but not those left behind who create them. It made me reflect on how life had changed for me. Change is inevitable but the experience of it can be brutal at times but the feelings always pass.

Life isn’t fiction and that’s why I love writing and reading as a form of escape. Escape from the daily chatter in my head and reminder of the not so great aspects of my health. Despite this, I realise how fortunate I am. Fortunate to have had a career that now enables me to write. Fortunate to have support at home, fortunate to have friends in my life that care and fortunate to have a publisher and readers who support my work.

When I’ve killed off characters in my own novels there’s always been a sense of loss but each one had to go, as that was what the story dictated. A story is all it is where the people only exist in my head, then on the page.

So when your writing is a struggle, or life isn’t going the way you want it, just remember it’s only a moment in time and it will pass. Be thankful for these moments, as some aren’t so lucky to experience any more.

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