CHANGING WORLDS: My first novel, written during the summer of 1976, is a largely autobiographical account of three days in the life of a clerk-turning-writer by name of Michael Savage, whose disillusionment with the drudgery of office work has led him to quit his clerical job in London's West End in order to dedicate himself to a literary career ... come what may. In this respect Savage is a sort of Henry Miller, who doesn't believe in doing things by half-measures and consequently, to him, there is no sense in remaining a clerk when one has an imperative desire to become a writer and thus effectively 'change worlds'. For him it is a make-or-break situation, all the more poignant for its unfolding against a background of indifference or hostility from colleagues and relatives alike! Of all my novels, CHANGING WORLDS is by far the most subjective, with long passages of interior monologue which often overlap, to ironic effect, with conversational or observational settings; though I have taken extra care to differentiate reflection from conversation by utilizing single quotes in the one context and double quotes in the other - a stratagem which, though unorthodox, has probably done more than anything to condition my preference, contrary to literary norms, for double quotes in relation to conversational passages virtually right the way through my fictional oeuvre. However that may be, it was probably the degree of this novel's subjectivity, combined with its revolutionary technique, that alienated most publishers (apart from 'vanity press' ones) when first I attempted to have it published back in the late 1970s, and to this day I am proud of the fact that I was able to subvert literary objectivity to such a radical extent that ... the result is more philosophic than fictional, thus heralding my true destiny in the more unequivocally philosophical works to come!
FIXED LIMITS: If my first novel CHANGING WORLDS betrays the influence (through souped-up interior monologue) of James Joyce on my early fiction, then the chief inspiration behind this fictional journal was undoubtedly Jean-Paul Sartre or, rather, Sartre's first novel Nausea, which made such a profound impression on me ... that I simply felt I had to attempt something similar - albeit within a necessarily different milieu and social setting. This was in the autumn of 1976, and the result was an account of some three weeks in the life of the very same character whom we first encounter as a disillusioned clerk in the earlier novel, but whose existence here, as a budding writer, is nothing short of a spiritual rebirth! Now that Michael Savage has become or, at any rate, is in the process of becoming his intellectual self ... we are led into an even more subjective world than that of his previous incarnation, with further opportunities for both autobiographical and philosophical speculation on my part. In fact, FIXED LIMITS should be regarded as the sequel to CHANGING WORLDS, without prior reference to which much of its subject-matter and settings would seem difficult, if not impossible, to understand. For me, this was the literary Black Hole which led into a new universe of fictional writings thereafter, beyond the reach of my early mentors.
Copyright © 1976-2012 John O’Loughlin