It is time for a new narrative. My fortunes changed the day I slipped in the hallway and broke my leg (fibula and fibula). I now look back and realise that’s when I was propelled on to a path for a new career as a fiction writer.
This was in late January 2013.
The week before I had been holidaying in Italy, drinking fine wine and gourmet food. One operation later, I was eating disgusting hospital food and relying on others to get me to the bathroom.
If it had ended there and then I might have successfully resumed my career on newspapers that had begun in 1976 when I was barely 18 and had taken me to papers up and down the eastern seaboard of Australia and to Papua New Guinea.
But I contracted golden staph, and had to endure six more operations, machines attached to me 24/7, more antibiotics and painkillers (administered both intravenously and orally) than you’d reasonably expect to have to have in a lifetime, months in and out of hospital and hospital waiting rooms and a hospital diet than left me anaemic and craving for Italian food again.
I did eventually get back to work (determination kicked in) but I wasn’t the same. Years ago I was diagnosed with a neurological problem that affects my balance and my speech. My theory is the treatment for the golden staph exacerbated things. I couldn’t blame my colleagues forever thinking I might topple over again and break something else.
When it was suggested I retire early on medical grounds, I didn’t think there was any point quibbling. It wasn’t the way I had planned to go out but c’est la vie.
I’m not ready to pack it in yet though. Sure, there are things I can’t do anymore — but I’ve always tried to figure out what I can do.
Truth is, I’ve dabbled in writing fiction for years. Mobility is much less a problem in my home and when you’re working alone no one has to try to fathom what you are mumbling about.
The first novel, Major B.S., has been released to the world (no sales in Italy yet but one I know of in Germany) and I have three more planned for this year.
Martin's writing has appeared on web sites in the US, the UK, Azerbejan and India. Canadians have also been able to read some of his shorter humorous fiction on WAP-enabled mobile (cell) phones there. This was in the day when they really, honestly thought that's the way mobile phone technology was headed. D’oh. Oh, and some editor of a weekly newspaper in Calgary plagiarised some of his humour columns as his original work, so technically he had a readership up there too.
Read more about John Martin's books here.