Poor in Spirit is my first work of fiction. Having wrestled for many years with the philosophical problems of life, the universe and everything – or, in other words, the Hard Problem – I discovered by accident that I could actually write a story.
The accident was the discovery of fan fiction. Once I realised that people were actually writing fiction based on someone else’s world, I started to do the same, for my own amusement. I showed my efforts to a good friend and was delighted with her reaction to it – she told me she couldn’t put it down!
At around the same time I discovered that I am officially weird, and am now, so late in life, the proud and relieved owner of an Asperger diagnosis. So I embarked on morphing the fan fiction hero into my own character, Vian, who is wrestling with his own spiritual predicament, among other things, including love.
The story revolves around his spiritual journey and begins with a bad dose of bitterness. Because of his autism, he has to have everything verbally nailed down. Metaphor and irony are no mystery to him, but ambiguity and innuendo, the unspoken that everybody knows, elude him and drive him right out of his comfort zone. But as he finds himself in a position of responsibility and generally treated with respect, he begins to loosen up.
It is also a thought experiment – some might say a fairytale – about how a left-wing agenda can be implemented in the modern world without the need for a vast bureaucracy and a ubiquitous secret police.
And, yes, it’s a romance.