I have no idea whether it is a good idea to be putting the finer details of my personal life up for public scrutiny in a 400-page book. I am worried.
Things exist in this story that a big chunk of my ego does not want anyone to know. And I know I’m going to be judged for things I did and decisions I made.
Nevertheless, what I have been writing towards for the last two years is the unravelling of complicated truths behind complicated times. To write anything less than a brutally honest account would be an insult to myself and my readers. There is enough cherry-picking and fact-twisting amongst self-aggrandising adventurers already.
But here’s the funny thing about honesty: my book departs often from scientific accuracy. I have changed not just names and locations but the very order of events, sometimes by weeks. I’ve invented conversations that never happened. I have combined many people into a handful of composite characters. I’ve omitted periods of time measured in months.
But I’m not intending to deceive or exaggerate. I’ve told a story that is truer than a laborious scientific record. I feel no shame for doing so. Writing this book has been as creative an endeavour as a work of fiction. The goal — to produce a distilled version of events that entertains and enlightens and carries meaning — has guided every editorial decision. I never quite understood what was meant by ‘artistic license’ until now.
It’s also been of personal importance that I write this book, whether or not anyone else reads it, because the film, while a lovely rendition of the tale, is nevertheless somebody else’s rendition. The book is my own telling.
It’s been difficult to share this story so candidly, but being judged is an occupational hazard in all creative work, and I still believe in the saying that ‘honesty is the best policy’. It helps us learn a little humility and self-reflection. And it ultimately makes for a truer, grittier and more enjoyable story.
Janapar is now available as a paperback and Kindle edition from Amazon.co.uk.