Why Are You Writing Now, Nearly Thirty Years After The Fact?

The author in the famous Chicken Street market in Kabul, 1991.

One question I often hear from friends and family is: Why are you writing now, nearly thirty years after the fact?

Well, the first and most obvious reason is that I’ve been busy: with my career, raising a family, and hobbies and such like. There was never enough time

Secondly, I’m getting older, and my daughter asked me to write my Afghan stories down. For posterity. So that helped me focus and provided me with my prospective reader.

But thirdly, and most importantly, I don’t think I could have articulated it very well until now.

I think with the benefit of my life experience, and the perspective of time, I was able to analyze what had happened and process it much more effectively.

At the time of the trip, it didn’t seem very special, as many of my colleagues at the BBC World Service were having similar adventures. A few were in much more dangerous spots.  I just tried to accept it as part of the job.

I started to realize how unusual it was a couple of years later when the dreams and nightmares started.

I’d talk about it sometimes over a few beers with friends and colleagues.

But it was only while writing that I was finally able to really figure out what had been happening to me, and around me.

So I’m glad I waited, as I think I tackle it all, including the issues around trauma and what have you, in a fashion that’s a little deeper than I ever could have in the past.

Anyway, if you have a question for me, find us on social media using #BumblingBook.