By Michael Bloor
Patrick, my friend and neighbour, and myself were arguing back and forth about our literary heroes: Is their influence always for the good? I spoke in their defense, citing Robert Burns fostering the belief of every Scot that ‘A Man’s a Man, for A’ That.’
Patrick denied that literary talent necessarily overlaps with moral courage, political acuity, or even a healthy quotum of commonsense. He instanced Conan Doyle, who believed in faeries and dodgy spiritualism, but clinched his case with Kafka’s diaries. The entry for August 2nd 1914 reads: “Germany has declared war on Russia. In the afternoon, swimming lessons.”
Michael Bloor only discovered the exhilarations of short fiction after he retired.