'We've got printers' ink instead of blood in our veins,' my grandfather told me. He had lifted me on to his lap and I was gently stroking the blue veins on his old hand. Later I deliberately cut my finger to find out if blue ink came out. It didn't. I got a scolding and a sticking plaster was put on it. But as soon as I learned my letters I started to write, like all the other Hartleys--my family name--who then thronged Fleet Street.
We have almost all been journalists and writers, since our forebears became Quakers in the early eighteenth century. In a big family conference, they decided to 'give away all for conscience sake,' They decided they 'preferred an honest living to inherited wealth,' and should work one way or another, according to their abilities.
Words have always been mankind's playthings, and I have enjoyed the game of words, the interplay of ideas, thoughts and experiences, from the trivial to the deeper expressions of the heart and mind, all my life. And from the complexity of youthful concepts and views, to the greater simplicity of old age, is a long, long path.
My most recent published book OF FIRE AND MUSIC, was first conceived years ago, crossing Loch Dunvegan with Dame Flora MacLeod of MacLeod, 28th Chief of the Clan MacLeod, and other house guests at Dunvegan Castle in Skye. I wrote it in the end for her grandson John, 29th Chief. Sadly, although he chose the title and was supportive, he died in 2007 before he could read it.
May you read and enjoy, as I have enjoyed my many years of writing and living.