Too often the benchmarks by which a life is gauged are too hollow. Income. Size of house. What car? How much, how big…
And whilst our achievements are central, it is the effort and endeavour that we invest in our achievements that is key – because of the hope it creates – and as I explain in Eclipsed – a life without hope is empty.
And so with this in mind, I present to the world my new novel, I,Gabriel. Based on an idea that has been in my head for over two decades – now after 18 months of writing, I finally have it down.
And without further ado, I publish here the short introduction of the novel…
Hello, my name is Gabriel Webber.
I am many things in life, including a boobs man which is a dangerous admission but there are reasons for such candour and will become clear soon enough.
I should not be here. By rights, I should be dead and yet I don’t feel blessed or fortunate for being spared. The sounds ungrateful, I know and for this I feel ashamed.
As I write, I am in a heightened state of excitement but also deep sadness and anxiety. In truth, I am lost. I am looking to find my way again and I hope that you might accompany me.
Really, I should begin with an apology: that I am not a writer and nor do I know what this is. A novel perhaps, an essay, a piece of journalism or even a case study. I do not know and I do not particularly care since it is not so important. What is important however is this story; a story I have no option but to tell. A book I am compelled to write. I would have preferred if it could have been written for me in the way that other (great) lives are chronicled. Not that I am so lazy, although this is a factor, but more because I am not a man of words. I did enquire about hiring a scribe, but after meeting a few charlatans I realised that my instincts were correct and that I must write it myself. There is another more curious reason why I must be at the helm, but more of this later and throughout. In truth, I haven’t all the answers myself as yet and I am hoping for enlightenment as I write. A catharsis for me then and, I hope, for us all.
I hope so, as, I write what I suppose is my autobiography. By any comparisons it is an extraordinary life and doing it justice is a formidable challenge. A task made more onerous since I am writing in the first person and by modern standards, I am afraid that I am not a very likeable man.
It is an advantage for any story if the hero and narrator is relatable and likeable; easy to admire? This is not the case here. Although people admire me, they do not like me. I know this because, the internet being what it is, they tell me. I am a man of great accomplishments but matched by my failings, all of which must be exposed if this book is to serve any real purpose for me and for my readers.
I used to have quirks and idiosyncrasies which were considered comic, but not any longer. This partly explains why I need to write this introduction. With modern sensitivities as they are, it can serve as a confession – but also a warning.
So, let this introduction serve also as a plea; to encourage my more delicate readers to set aside their pre-judgements so that they can complete this short but important work. It saved my life and I hope that it can save yours too. I am aware that this is some claim. And whilst I do have a highly refined sense of self and am prone to melodrama, I am not being dramatic in this instance, as you are about to discover.
You have my assurances that I will write with fearless honesty. A confessional of a brilliant but flawed man. Anything less is a waste of all our time. Fitting, too, because I consider it to be the greatest accomplishment in my esteemed life. My indelible mark on the world. Isn’t this what we all strive for?
As with anything worth achieving, writing a book is not an easy task. It requires much effort and courage and time is against me. These are troubled times and the moral of this story and its timing are prescient. Another lofty claim. Setting myself up to fail, perhaps? Well, read on and decide for yourself.
Someone once said, ‘never explain, nor apologise’. I don’t like this sentiment but I agree with it, although I concede that I have explained myself already in this introduction. However, I will not be apologising. Inevitably some will accuse me of being motivated by the income that accompanies a best-selling book, but I refute this. Even in my admission that avarice is my central failing and the kernel of this story, financial gain is not at play here. Something higher is at work which I have a heavy burden to understand and to share. The strong international sales and bountiful income (plus, no doubt, the film rights), whilst most welcome, are merely a bonus and almost a distraction.
This is a true story. A modern-day parable, worthy of Jesus Christ himself. Plenty of pretenders since then have laid claim to the second coming but not me. I am not God. I am just an ordinary man. Well, perhaps not so ordinary.
Finally, I will write with economy so that the message can quickly emerge. Less is more and ever more so as our attention spans diminish.
I, Gabriel is my gift to the world. No need to thank me. But do, please, tell your friends and loved ones.