Having finished university, and in increasingly poor health, I returned home to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a mental illness characterised by fluctuations in mood from joy to despair, something of which I had started to experience when I wrote Visions.
Over the next few months, I became an out-patient at the local hospital; each morning, I would drive there from home and spend several hours writing, usually working on my first novel Saman's Revenge but also on a deal of poetry including the following, My Soul...
Wandering through my mind one day I chanced to meet myself.
'Hello,' I said, 'what brings me here?' Said I, 'Come follow me.'
I led me up to memory's door and pushing right on through
Did find myself a boy again playing in the woods alone.
I pulled apart a piece of brush, a bit of tree, a thicket
And facing me were three demons of another world,
Staring, smirking, laughing. Who are they? 'Who are they?'
'They are your past,' I said stepping back, 'an echo from your past.'
'What now?' I looked and there I was, am, writing at a desk,
Lost for words, searching my soul, penning these lines,
The sound of patients outside reminding me of what I do,
What I have become, what I will never forget.
I searched forward knowing what was next, which door was yet to come.
Through I went and saw what I had made for me,
The places I would go, and I told myself these were dreams
Though idle they were not. 'This is the place of deja vu,' I said,
'Where future echoes clash with the past. These are your dreams,
Make them your truth. This is your soul, this is your soul,
All that you learn brings you here. You are what you are and what you will be,
Remember that. Bear no grudge, pent no anger, love life for its gift.
That is all.' I spokle with heaven's grace then turned to walk away
With guile's guise, bearing the plinth of doubt on shoulders of faith,
But I caught me up. 'Wait,' I cried, 'what else is there to know?'
'Nothing,' I said, 'that is all.'
'You lie,' I cried, 'I am you, I am your proof. Tell me.'
I turned round, sighed, then opened one more door and looking in
I saw two worlds combined, one of fire, one of cloud, both within my soul.
'How can this be?' I cried, 'how can this be?'
'The two are one, your blessing and your curse. You live in both though
Choose just one beyond the grave. Do not seek more knowledge. Now go.'
I walked away and left myself in consultation with my thoughts and wondered
Why on earth that damned eternal question battered at the forefront
Of my mind. 'Take the hint,' I urged, 'take the hint and love life for itself.
That is truly all.'