Chasing a Story
For me it started with a love of history and archaeology when I was young boy. I would spend hours just reading anything I could get my hands on, and it was mostly history. I was also drawn into the world of science by the voice and words of Carl Sagan who inspired my interest in artificial intelligence which I studied at university gaining a master’s degree. The captivation continues today with a keen interest in science and a fascination with historic and ancient sites. Interestingly, my book that is due to be published in the next few months comes from my experience at university studying artificial intelligence. I said then that I would write a book about this, and so I did. As engineers we were designing search engines, neural networks, genetic algorithms and a whole lot more, but what was about to happen to me was like synchronicity.
I remembered the words of the author Georges Bernanos as I sat there in the university library, who said, ‘What we call chance might be the logic of God.” And it was chance and maybe more, because as I buried myself in reading the mountain of books, journals and academic papers while researching my thesis for my dissertation I came across a story. But the story had no direct relation to the research I was undertaking, yet I knew then that I was hooked as junkie is to heroin. I couldn’t ignore what was staring me in the face. I felt like an investigative reporter finding a story for the first time and all I could do was keep chasing the story. One way or another I knew the story I had stumbled upon affected us all, we just don’t know or understand the reasons why. I knew then that I would write a book about what kept appearing even though I wasn’t looking for it.
Today, I spend my time researching and reading for I know that to write you have to read. And read not just what you are familiar with, but different genres both in fiction and non-fiction. You have to expand your horizons beyond your periphery learning and experiencing the wonder of books. At random I will choose a book and read a chapter or two, and sometimes only a few pages or paragraphs if the book does not hold my attention. This is my mission – to develop my creativity by immersing myself into diverse worlds. I understood the importance of critical thinking at university and this taught me not to accept anything at face value, but to analyse and evaluate what the author is trying to convey. I believe the same process needs to be expressed even if you are a writer of fiction – the reader has to believe your universe and scenario. The characters have to be believable and real within your mind as the reader.
Every week I randomly pick books at the book store, so that I am surprised and not limited by my bias. What I mean by this is we all grow up what I call excess baggage, which we can get from our parents, friends and foes, and, it’s the inability to think without bigotry or bias that can railroad your thinking. We all do it without thinking about it, but I try not to let it get in the way, by taking measures to limit its effect on me. By randomly sampling books I increase my knowledge of different writers and genres, which I believe helps my creativity. And I also believe the inspiration for a good story often comes from chance and synchronicity.
~ Anthony Fox