Welcome to my new website, the existence of which is best explained by turning to a quotation from George Orwell. Writing in the Summer 1946 issue of the London magazine Gangrel, he concluded his essay “Why I Write” with these lines:
“All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. For all one knows that demon is simply the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane. I cannot say with certainty which of my motives are the strongest, but I know which of them deserve to be followed. And looking back through my work, I see that it is invariably where I lacked a political purpose that I wrote lifeless books and was betrayed into purple passages, sentences without meaning, decorative adjectives and humbug generally.”
In the future, I hope to explore some of the implications of Orwell’s words. I hope readers will not only consider some of my occasional blogs but also turn to my fiction writing, which has gathered momentum in the last few years. I hope too they’ll continue to refer to the nonfiction work I’ve produced over the past three decades. Above all, if my writing here avoids the “purple passages, sentences without meaning [and] decorative adjectives and humbug” Orwell rightly shunned, then it will have been worth the effort. It will certainly not hurt our contemporary political and literary culture.