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February 24, 2019

[Spoiler alert]

Tomorrow marks the fourth anniversary of I Am Not Gog’s publication. There are two churches in Lydia’s story. Four years after publishing it, I have only just realised myself that their two appearances in the novel both happen to separately precede events that lead to the death of innocent men, each of which in turn precipitates great upheaval in Lydia’s life. This was not done consciously, I’m sure. The two church scenes developed completely independent of each other. The story called for their existence and their natural place within it. As writer’s often say, writing fiction is sometimes like excavating dinosaur skeletons. You’re often discovering the story, rather than de...

January 13, 2019

There are two particularly cruel scenes in the novel I Am Not Gog, and the second of them is also quite distasteful. I’m sorry about that, but they were both important to the story and partly based on real events.

The first involves a couple of nasty girls at school: Madie and Tates, the two bullies who set about ripping young Lydia’s false fingernails off. Their names are simple anagrams of two English words. If you want to cheat and see what they are anagrams of, I’ve put the solutions after the space at the bottom of this blog.

As ghastly as the scene is, it actually happened to the real-life person who inspired the character of Lydia. I used to work at one of the social projects she freq...

December 26, 2018

I was delighted to end 2018 on such a positive note – this wonderful official review of the novel I Am Not Gog by Julia Kay of onlinebookclub.org:

"I found myself forgetting that this was a work of fiction, for within the pages is the type of bizarreness that can only be found in reality – the way real life can unfold into chaos and is wrought with unforeseeable events. Truth be told, fiction is much more predictable.

At the end of the book, when I was tempted to Google Lydia Japhethson, I had to remind myself that she is a fictional character. That someone so wonderfully unique and beautifully flawed never actually existed is a pity. I began this book on a wary note, unsure of the likeabili...

December 9, 2018

With Christmas approaching, it seems fitting to take the opportunity to share some insights about Lydia's night of clubbing at Christmas. As it involves numbers, I'll use it as an excuse to share all the other insights about numbers and dates in I Am Not Gog.

On the seventh day after meeting her, Joshua texts Lydia that he loves her. Seven weeks after meeting him, Lydia finally yields to his love at the nightclub. Seven months after meeting him, Joshua suffers that which would motivate her to take possession of her own liberty. This is an example of an underlying use of numbers to support the allegory, in this case centred around an incident in the nightclub.

The club, where Joshua finally w...

November 18, 2018

I am proud to declare that I am the originator of what is probably the most obscure and impenetrable metaphor in the history of English literature. I wish it wasn’t so obscure, but it pretty much had to be what it is. In order to put it into context, I will first need to partly run through the allegorical themes of water and the wilderness that meander through the novel I Am Not Gog.

The two themes meet most intimately in Joshua’s poem in the Country Park. The wilderness allegory draws on the forty years the Biblical Israelites spent wandering in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land. There were forty-two places visited by the Isrealites after their escape from Egypt. These are k...

October 14, 2018

If you look very closely at the lower left quadrant of this scene, you can see that the zoomed-in panel contains an actual image of a very minor character in I Am Not Gog: Ruth the pigeon.

Since Lydia’s sojourn in Grimsby thirteen years ago, Grimsby’s bus station has had a significant redesign. I knew the place was due an overhaul, but I didn’t expect it to be quite so half-arsed. As it is, they appear to have just removed the shelters and moved the line of stands perpendicular to where they were. They are now along the row of buildings at the end, leaving a big open space. Perhaps they use the space for something useful like a market or ribbon-dancing performances. If anyone knows, please co...

September 16, 2018

The Trolley Collector. The man with no name. The Everyman. The people of the world. You, me, or anyone caught up in somebody else’s war. He did have a name, originally. The real-life man that his character was based upon was called Alec. He was a regular service-user at a project for people with mental health or homelessness problems where I used to work. He was tough-looking, but softly spoken; cagey, but gentle-mannered; unforthcoming and inscrutable, but entirely inoffensive. Why I would have a dream about him being held hostage by another, female service-user at the point of a gun, I don’t know.

But that dream was the germ of the novel I Am Not Gog. That was the odd situation that I had t...

August 12, 2018

Most writers complain about writing too much content and having to force themselves to pare away all that is unnecessary in the editing. I’m not like most. I’m the reverse. I was the reverse in the writing and editing of I Am Not Gog, at least. Perhaps, now I have learnt my craft, it will be different next time. I didn’t have to force myself to increase the word count, though, it sort of happened naturally in the rewrites. As you can see from the graph, I started out with a meagre 48,000 words and ended up with over 80,000. That’s adding over 32,000 words. Something must be wrong with me.

The last award-winning contemporary literary novel I read started out at 120,000 words in the first dra...

July 6, 2018

These three characters are to do with another word beginning with 'p': perception – the enabling of it, the lack of it, and the distortion of it.

All the names of characters that are given in I Am Not Gog mean something pertinent to their role in the story or the allegorical scheme. I’ve looked at almost all of the main characters’ names, now I’m turning to some of the minor characters, three of varying importance.

The first is Ruth the pigeon. It is Hebraic for ‘friend’. This particular bird is a creature that has unwittingly done Lydia a favour by drawing her attention to the builder’s sign on the scaffold, giving her Power’s telephone number. Lydia's perception and understanding of her...

June 10, 2018

Here are a few photographs that I took during my research trip to Cleethorpes and Grimsby in 2006. I had no idea I’d be showing them to you now, so they are just snaps. I’m not a brilliant photographer.

This was the last of Lydia's three refuges, under the pier on Cleethorpes beach. Then, it was midnight and raining. From this angle, you'd be looking directly at her, face to face.

The next two photos are of her tiny guest-house room on Abraham's Road, where she dwelt for almost all of the rest of her time in Cleethorpes. The actual name of the road is 'Isaac's Road', but I needed to change it so that none of the Abrahamic faiths were either excluded or emphasised in relation to the allegory, t...

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This is a repository of insights about the novel I Am Not Gog (and future work). There will be new insights every month or so until we have a full library and nothing is left unexplored. If you came here to find out more about the allegory of the novel, start by clicking HERE.

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I Am Not Gog. A novel by Matthew James Hunt.

© 2015-2020 Matthew James Hunt. INKTAP Publishing