FICTION NEEDS TO KNOW – on writing and war

People who know my work will tell you that I write kaleidoscopic fiction in which events, relationships, plots, scenarios and ambitions are interwoven from the perspectives of many different characters. In a sense, my brain is like a processor constantly asking: What if?

After four novels,where I had divine control over all the strings and puppets, I’ve spent the past five years writing non-fiction, trying to unravel the truth behind various traumatic events my mother experienced during the Second World War – much like a cold-case investigation.

During this time, my fiction processor worked overtime, sketching endless scenarios until it found the clearest line connecting as many of the available facts, references and anecdotal dots as possible. In the past week, my fiction processor has been asking some big questions.

What if peace is never in the interests of the war machine and those who profit from it? What if this new war is just acynical excuse to burn rockets and trash old equipment? What if the 40-kilometre, Russian column is being left exposed for this very reason?

What if the unwinnable wars in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq were/are also a sinister dumping ground for a global arsenal that was becoming obsolete? What if war always triggers fear and defence spending and investment in new weaponry on all sides of the conflict?

What if we are being played? What if the world was moving closer to greater peace and unity, driven by shared threats such as a global pandemic and rampant climate change? What if that growing peace and unity wasn’t in the interests of the war machine?

What if some of our leaders are political puppets, whose strings are being pulled by powerful figures, who have always profited from war?

What if there is sufficient evidence that this has been the case for centuries, perhaps more so in recent decades and years?

What if fear is still the strongest and most primitive impulse to arm ourselves to ensure our defence and security?

What if we are grotesquely predictable?

 And so, dear friends,my fiction processor is working overtime, connecting the dots, trying to make sense of the seemingly senseless; trying to understand why we still allow our children and neighbours to be slaughtered in wars that no one wants.