Me, I used to be a poet. Back in the nineteen seventies, when I was a student. I published about forty poems in various small press magazines, in a couple of very good magazines. I did an Outposts collection (The Broken Mirror), and got into a PEN anthology (New Poems 1976-77), both courtesy of the late Howard Sergeant.

            There are two poems in a seventies’ edition of The Countryman that I still like (out of three hundred or so that I wrote back then!). That was Me, back then, and in the mid-eighties, it all fizzled out.

            What brought it back, in the late nineties, was the arrival of BHD. Being adopted had never been issue for me, but finding out, in my late forties, that I had been given a name as well was cathartic. It kick-started the writing again, but BHD wrote prose fiction!

            Since then, Me has started writing poetry again (you’ll find one in Acumen’s First Sixty anthology), and plays, and essays (in The New Writer). BHD, meanwhile has created Kowalski (That’s What Ya Get! -Unbound Press), written A Penny Spitfire (Pewter Rose), and knocked out a couple of hundred short stories, a few dozen of which have been published and performed here and there.

            What intrigues me is the way BHDandMe have gone our separate ways, and have needed to. This wasn’t a simple matter of choice. The poems, and plays and essays definitely belong to me. The prose fiction is all BHD’s. Could it be that the sort of PP&Es I write have to be in ‘my’ voice? BHD, as a missing sort of person, is trying on all the voices he has heard around him, to see if any fit. The Ballad of Matty Lonnin (Cumbria Life & Lancashire Evening Post) tried on a Cumbrian voice. The Writer’s Secret (Tattoo Highway) put on a French one. A Scottish voice was right for The Big Men (Southlight), and The Sweetest Sound. Hollywood voices led to The Mackwater Seam (Sentinel Quarterly), and ultimately to Kowalski. A Midlander voiced A Penny Spitfire. He’s even tried to capture the intonation, in 10,000 Playmates (Writer’s Block), of the Belgian tour guide who showed us round Tynecot Cemetery, near Ypres, and who reminded us just who the Boers had been!

            Perhaps, with BHD, it has been the personal quest for a lost identity that has led to the diversity of voices in his prose fiction. The genre itself does not demand it. Perhaps a purely BHD voice will emerge! In the meantime, how does the idea strike you that stories might demand their own voices, and that voices might demand their own stories.

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