A question I often ask myself — and I suspect others ask too — is why I didn’t just opt for a normal life. To be subsumed into the dominant culture, to go to the pub like everyone else. To join the rat race and obsess over a football team, just like any other normal English bloke. Why did I head off in this other direction, breaking with everything I once knew?

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Fat and thin

It’s a shame that when fasting we lose weight in all the wrong places. My arms are like sticks again, my face drawn. But my fat gut: alas, I still look pregnant. An undesirable look for a bloke, which I cannot even blame on beer. For my belly, I must take up Couch to 5K again. For my face, a 5K jaunt to Ashridge House bakehouse for a caffè mocha and an almond croissant.

Success vs failure

Success or failure is relative. It all depends on your vantage point, and what your measure of success is. For most of my childhood, I lived in a large five-bedroom house in one of the most affluent suburbs of our city. Our house had two large living rooms, a kitchen large enough to comfortably seat all six of us for dinner, a conservatory and gardens front, side and rear.

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So often I think to myself that I should cease writing and delete everything I have published. But other times — like today — I wonder why on earth I decided to obliterate so much all those years ago. Diaries I once wrote, I tore to shreds. Creative writing I tossed into the bin. So many projects I bulk deleted.

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