The unfinished book is a novel about spies on an international level. It starts with a young man in the Yorkshire Dales and he gets drawn into an espionage scenario that takes him to Switzerland where he discovers he is on to something so big that he starts fearing for his life. Can he solve the mystery or even escape it now that he has become innocently entangled in it.
The work is very limited because I started laying out the plot when I was twelve and therefore way before I knew what I was doing. I had a brother typewriter when I was eleven and this is what I decided to do with it. At times I would lay across the carpet with my typewriter and dozens of typed pages spread out. I managed only a few rough chapters because as life developed, other things became more important and writing moved to the back burner until I had the time to enrol in a writing course ten years later.
Those typewrites pages remain in my possession some forty-five years on. I always wanted to pick it up again at some point and finish the book. Even years later when I realised it was something I would never get time to do, I settled on making a mini-book out of it. But still it sits dormant in my files.
If computers had been advanced as they are today I would certainly have progressed it much more. As it is, the book will always be the first step on my journey of discovery that followed my love of writing. The concept was straightforward enough; there are millions of words available and the task was to string them together and create something new and interesting that would be worth reading. Write a book worthy enough to sell.
Soon into my journey, I found myself in remarkable circumstances when I was thirteen and embarked on two side-line projects; one was a book on the Passionist Order and another was an account of the Lee Enfield .303 rifle. This was because I was living in a monastery and had access to a large library and the peace and quite during after-school hours.
Because the monastery was the UK headquarters of the The Passionist Order this is where the archives were kept. I spent many happy hours in the archives room looking through things that were over a hundred years old, I was actually trusted to come and go as I pleased. The result was a book that was sold for 5p at a summer event held by the parish and I sold about 70 copies.
During my three years at the monastery I was also in the local army cadets in Parkhurst Road, just a short bus-ride away. I was interested in guns and became the best shooter there. In a competition of the cadet forces in London, I got second place and have a medal for that. And due to the extensive library I lived in, which included a full set of Encyclopaedia Britannica, I created a mini-book on the Lee Enfield, diagrams and all. When I left cadets, existing members offered to purchase it but I declined, there was only one copy – and it remains in my files.
I remember exactly why I could not find time to finish the book yet I accomplished other writing. It was all moving in the same direction in any case, in learning how to strings words together to get something meaningful and interesting at the end. Writing for me became more than an aim to achieve a final product such as a book or pamphlet or flyer, it had been honed into a craft, a responsibility to use it for the good, something that actually was as fulfilling to invest time in as building a boat or a tree house.
Sometimes I feel that a lot of years were wasted learning things the hard way, punching typewriter keys with fingertips, saving up for typewriter ribbons and paper, hands stained with toner from operating a lithographic press. But then I see youngsters today with all the technology you could imagine, laser printers, computers, and all that, and the largest knowledge base ever, the internet – and what do they do with it, nothing really because the standards in spelling and grammar are long gone things that mattered in the past; now it’s fine to say CU L8R.
In the years since beginning the book, I have had the idea to write one from scratch, nothing to do with the original idea. I have a great plot , something that excites me to begin writing it. But I fear it will be something that will have to wait for my retirement when I have time to return to the simplicity of life as it was when I was a child, before life took over my dreams.