Where does one belong? As a young girl I lived in the novels of Jean-Paul Sartre, Camus and Proust. In my twenties I lived in the novels of Henry Miller and Anais Nin. In my thirties, I lived in the novels of Orhan Pamuk and Paolo Coelho. In my 40s I lived in the novels I wrote, in The Hidden and all the subsequent ones. Now in my early 50s I live in the novels of Elizabeth Von Arnim and Yann Martel.
I read The Guardian and the BBC websites every single day, bury myself in them. I watch the BBC news and Channel 4 news. I read The Economist. I don’t do Facebook. I love Twitter. I devour maps of the Middle East and Europe, go on imaginary journeys to the Atlas Mountains.
I drink four strong Italian-style coffees every morning, but nothing like that after 1pm. My favourite foods are oranges, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and cheese. I also love chocolate.
I feel European, because I grew up in Europe and spent a lot of time in Northern European countries as a kid, but I know I am British. I hold a British passport (a European Union British passport).
I get daily emails from Chatham House and read many of the articles from that site.
I don’t use Skype anymore. I use Viber. I never use my landline. I like to walk five miles a day and I always finish the day with a nice glass of Spanish red wine.
I first visited Scotland as a 16-year-old and it was love at first sight. I feel most at home in Scotland and I am not even remotely Scottish.
I feel as though in my deep ancestry there was some connection, some Braveheart connection. I wanted to be Aebbe of Dunbar when I went there. A warrior princess with a spear but my grandparents hail from foreign lands and were more at home with the sun and the azure seas of hotter climes.
I carry an anger in me at injustice and care far too much about just about everything, especially injustices towards any human.
I don’t love animals. I am not an animal lover. I eat meat. Maybe I could love animals on farms, in freedom, but I don’t love the idea of pets. The word ‘pet’ is so horrible. I want freedom for living beings, so maybe I do love animals.
Identity. Who. Am. I. Question. Mark.