Wednesday, 10 November 2010

If I could live my life all over again I still wouldn't be an international playboy

If I could live my life all over again I still wouldn’t be an international playboy. I couldn’t handle the paternity suits, the rich food, the ski injuries, yacht sickness, the constant partying to preserve my celebrity status, the plastic surgery, cocaine-destroyed nostrils and above all the obnoxious company of people just like me.
If nothing else I never had the money. There’s no point in losing sleep over those things beyond your control.
It becomes more problematical where I missed out on the pleasures I could afford. Take sky-diving. I can imagine the thrill practitioners must experience leaping into mid-air, tumbling through space, the rushing wind as the ground races towards you before your parachute opens. But with my fear of heights and death no amount of empathy would ever have persuaded me to take up the sport.
Looking back over my life I see some crossroads where I took the wrong path but to have chosen a different route would have required me to be a different person.
There is one thing which I did have within my power and failed to do. I deeply regret that I didn’t read more avidly both fact and fiction. During my career in financial journalism I was writing novels, short stories, plays, and scripts – all unpublished – which might have turned out better if I had.
I’m doing a little catching up now but I doubt I still have the drive to embark myself on another throw of the fiction dice. The more I read, the more I realise my own shortcomings as an author. This was brought home to me reading Arthur & George by Julian Barnes – a literary novel that has all the pace of popular fiction.
Barnes wears his research lightly as we learn how Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle campaigned against a real life miscarriage of justice.
There’s not many people I would care to swap places but I think it would be nice to have been Barnes at the moment he completed the book.

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