In 1987 I was born.
In 1990 I happened upon a jellyfish on a beach in Cornwall and was perturbed.
In 1992 I spilled a tub of number-shaped fridge magnets in the street and a passing mathematician verified the resultant scattering as pi to 32 decimal places.
In 1995 I declared that I would be a life-long illiterate, but was tricked into learning to read by Discworld novels.
In 1996 I was a contestant on the popular children’s game show ‘Crazy Carwash’ during the filming of which I and four other children suffered violent inflammations at the gunge used in the eponymous carwash. Toxicological analysis found the gunge to contain traces of arsenic and the subsequent settlement afforded me a bed shaped like a racecar.
In 1999 I lost my dog in a field and in the process of finding her became embroiled in the arcane rite of a millenarian cult operating out of a disused cow shed. My dog had entered the cow shed, the cultists said, at the moment of their ritual imploring for a messiah to guide them through the coming computer-based apocalypse. The following internal dispute as to the messianic properties of my dog caused the group to disband. She howled for the entirety of New Year’s Eve.
In 2002 I was a regional finalist in the Rotary Club’s Young Oboist of the Year competition despite having only a rudimentary knowledge of the oboe.
In 2006 I started a bachelor’s degree in Humanities and became Lord Protector of the faculty’s Philosophy Society, a largely ceremonial role but one which afforded me the opportunity to meet eminent political theorist Alain Connerie while he visited on a speaking tour. Monsieur Connerie informed me that any interest in trends of thought, where they come from and how they link together, is fundamentally onanistic and true psychic emancipation comes only from direct action and campaigns of industrial sabotage, in particular targeting water supply infrastructure, the importance of which he mentioned often. He asked what practical skills I had and I said that my last job was in an aquatic nursery tending water lilies. The next morning I found that I had been transferred to a degree in horticulture.
In 2010 the Journal of Applied Horticulture accepted a condensed form of my recently completed master’s dissertation, ‘Courgettes and their many uses’, for publication. A legal challenge over ownership of the journal’s domain name, www.JAH.biz, from a Thames Valley-based organisation dedicated to promoting Rastafarianism saw the journal suspend operations, although an adapted version of my article was later published by the organisation of Rastafarians as a token of good faith, performing well on web analytics and rumoured to have triggered a resurgence in courgette imports to the Caribbean, although the connection cannot be satisfactorily proved. Meanwhile I began work on a novel.
In 2011 my likeness was recorded in a family photograph and through a mix-up with the film developers became the album cover of a little-known Arabic pop group which attained significant success in the Levantine state of Al Kathab, where due to the group’s politically reformist lyrics my likeness became a symbol of secessionist sentiment in the nation’s long-running civil war sparked by the breakaway province of Huraa. In early April a makeshift billboard erected by rebel forces and bearing my face fell at a freak gust of wind onto the nearby staff car of an influential but intransigent government negotiator, killing him instantly and thereby paving the way for an independent Huraai state.
In 2012 my first novel, For Myra, For Iris, was published to claims that ‘It’s really good’ by someone I know. The notion soon appeared from certain crackpot but very diligent corners of the internet that For Myra, For Iris is composed entirely of layered tricks and codes, such as a sentence being written in letters corresponding perfectly to the Fibonacci sequence, that it contains the longest palindrome of any book published in the fourth quarter of 2012, and that it from beginning to end forms an acrostic which is intelligible only to a near-dead Semitic language and in translation forms a hellish proclamation of the coming end of the world. The last of these is not true, but nonetheless various factions have developed around the belief in this claim, with some, led by ex members of the millenarian cult I happened upon in 1999 and inspired by my links to continued war in the Holy Land, holding me to be the archangel of an essentially positive End Time. Others are actively seeking my death.
Living under the auspices of a little-known arm of the UK Protected Persons Service dedicated to the safe productivity of writers pursued by cults, I now solely work on my second novel, The Tumbler, which is coming along well. I have spoken to no one but my minder, who is called Simon, for two years. I’ve had the pleasure to discover that Simon is an accomplished poet and was for a time attached to the detail which minded Salman Rushdie in the ’80s. He says Mister Rushdie is a very nice man and quite good at Super Mario, although not as good as everyone says he is.
Sometimes I wonder if the path my life has taken has been worth it, the pseudonyms and endless safehouses, and if writing is nothing more than a cripplingly introspective dodging of real life. But in truth I value these moments because they allow me to realise anew that writing is not a coherent object, a thing which I sit and gaze at; it’s rather a window on to precisely everything, a conduit. It’s an end in itself, I think as Simon murmurs from the hallway, keeping himself awake with his slow, twisting stanzas, and it’s something I will always do.