On History

History is cyclical. It is also a story. Graham Swift had his protagonist in Waterland declare that history was a fairy-tale, a succession of fairy-tales that helped to quell our anxiety with the real story, the truth, whatever that could be.

The truth is out there and there are many different versions of it. This blog is my truth. I have embellished aspects of events, I have changed names, I have even fictionalised tracts of memory, because it makes little difference.

I had taught English for over twenty-five years and it was like the back of my hand. The problem was that I had stopped looking at the back of my hand. I am looking now and see my wedding ring which makes me smile. I can also see the remains of a wart on my right index finger which I dug out with a penknife thirty-five years ago. History, eh?

My history, the one that I spent so long writing about, gives me a reason to write. It’s digging and discovering and putting together and making sense. I discovered that writing has magic in its DNA. It can create and destroy. It can smart and soothe. There have been times when I have been moved to tears upon the rediscovery of something long lost or interred. Those moments are like pieces of a jigsaw that once fell out of the box and threatened never to return; the missing pieces, the missing links.

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