John Gerard Fagan
To create art is in us all. Everyone has their own way of releasing it, and writing is my outlet. Growing up in a former mining town on the outskirts of industrial Glasgow, I never met or even knew of anyone who wrote any form of fiction or even wanted to. Rarely would anyone read any either. What art men like my father created was on the building sites in brick and steel. In childhood, most boys in my hometown dreamed of playing football for Celtic for a living, but inevitably knew that they would end up in a trade like their father and his father before him. No one in my family had ever been to university or travelled much further than the Scottish border, but I imagined something different for myself.
The reason why fiction exists in all its forms is because we crave bigger emotions and bigger stories than what we find our own lives, and fiction gives us an outlet for that to exist. To add to this ongoing imaginary story that has contributions from greats past and present, such as Scott, Hemingway, McCarthy and Mieville, a story that is exists parallel to the supposed truth of humanity, called and stills calls to me.
After a primary school assignment to invent your own superhero, I started writing cartoons. I wrote about my superhero Super Sulk and his best friend Wee Jimmy Nothing. They were a couple of pre-teen serial killers, spreading their own form of justice around Scotland. That simple assignment kickstarted my love of writing, and from then on I have always been writing stories. That is not to say any of them were any good. It took me many years of reading and studying the craft of writing before I was anywhere near the level I wanted to be.
However, good or bad, fiction or non-fiction, I enjoy the process of taking my thoughts and what lives in imagination and putting it into words. Creating new worlds and imagining the possible future of this world is something I constantly think about. It gives me a rest from reality and transports me to wherever and whenever. It also helps with living abroad – something I have done over half my adult life. Whenever I feel lonely, homesick or overwhelmed wth my surroundings, I write and I escape.
I have been in Japan for almost five years now. I have lived in tiny fishing villages, where the population is mainly grasshoppers, and also in the centre of densely populated Tokyo, where everyone lives on top of each other. Both are equally surreal. Instead of writing a diary, I remember and note the experiences and people I meet in my fiction. I write to capture memories and emotions. Most of all, I write because I love writing.