The Ghost in the Arena

  The Ghost in the Arena     Writing is a blood-sport. And in many blood-sports you tend to find the influence of religion. Think of the superstitions of bullfighters. Or the outspoken religiosity of Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Or the Zen-like spirituality of karate. Faith brings these fighters, who frequently flirt with death…

Championing Our Divisive Modern History

    As a devoted admirer of the art of history, a tour guide and a writer who lives on an island so densely packed and renowned for its history you would be right to expect a historical novel or two from me. I recently read an article about Jon Cassar, a Hollywood producer of…

On Caribbean Politics and Literature

    Mario Vargas Llosa, the Peruvian Nobel Laureate, has written many masterpieces. The free-flowing Conversation in the Cathedral, the foreboding tome of The War of the End of the World, and the exuberantly post-modern The Green House. A contemporary of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Peruvian is a proud, staunch realist. Reading most of his…

I Think Therefore I Am Maltese

      The best kind of patriotism is the one that remains unspoken. I am not a patriot, because I subscribe to the Voltarean rationale of patriotism: “It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind.” I love travel, diversity and humanity itself –…

Dictionary of the Numinous

    Isn’t it incredible how sometimes beautiful-sounding words happen to mean something even more wondrous? Think of ‘sublunary’, ‘sublime’ and ‘crepuscular’. The one that’s caught my attention most recently is the word ‘numinous’. But when I looked it up, for utmost clarity, on the Oxford dictionary, I found something disappointingly antagonising. The definition, according…

Taking Things Too Syria-ously

      Ernest Hemingway once wrote, clearly embittered after a bad interview with the New Yorker: “If you say nothing it is difficult for someone to get it wrong.” And saying nothing is exactly what we should do – in writing, but not in interviews. I was recently interviewed by the kinkily titled Rum Punch…

No Longer Afraid Of Virginia Woolf

    The first book of 2017 that has shared its reality with mine, indeed made its reality a quarter of mine, is a book that is about a mooted family holiday to a lighthouse on the shores of England. I hadn’t read To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf since I was a sixteen-year-old enthralled…

The Muse of Engagement

      Writers age twice. Just as we age, year by year, change indistinctly as we age, writers must as they age go through a second tier of change. None of us are the writers we started off as. We have changed, some change more than others, but evolution of one sort or another…

Don’t Forget The Happiness Part – Farewell 2016

Quotes from my writing 2016   So long as we are dying, we all return to the thing that kills us. Because that’s where we’re truly happy. The Shadows Of Paradise   But then again, only people under siege could know the meaning of happiness! White Clouds Of Mourning   When the Fernet Branca came,…

The Multitudinous Writings In Store For 2017

  Amidst all the high-profile deaths, the worrying political upheavals, and surprising football, what stands out clearest in my memory for 2016 is Planet Earth II. David Attenborough’s masterpiece and the BBC’s swansong for many years to come. It was the most inspiring thing to be produced and the most significant. And whilst, on a…

The Real Good Stuff in Fiction

  For a couple of centuries now, at least since the likes of Henry James and Dostoevsky, the literary world has been in the grasp of the psychological novel. All the major masterpieces since then have been, in some way or another, a psychology-centred work. Gone are the days of the adventure novels, of Moby-Dick…

Hardcore Writers no. 3 Ways of Escape – Graham Greene

    During his period as journalist Graham Greene did some work writing film reviews. Here is what he had to say about one of Shirley Temple’s early, childhood films: “ Her admirers — middle aged men and clergymen — respond to her dubious coquetry, to the sight of her well-shaped and desirable little body, packed…