Many people think ‘RUNNING AWAY’ as a title sounds cynical. That is not my intention.
I saw Max as another kind of ‘Everyman’, carrying a bag of rubbish, unconscious of its existence. He wanted to feel better and thought ‘love’ was the answer.
C.G. Jung says we’re born with a black bag attached to our hip and in it we place everything we find difficult about ourselves. By the time we’re adult it can be miles long. Max carried such a bag of dark stuff with him, but he didn’t know it. That really is the basis of RUNNING AWAY.
Things like love, romance, marriage, family and children are seen as doors to happiness. I got Max to try ’em all. They failed, because he hadn’t opened that bag. He felt love had lied to him, and to his wife Jenny.
Or simply, everywhere Max put emotion seemed to draw a blank, because his mindset was lying to him. Max didn’t realise he was in his own dark. Love lay outside his sphere of consciousness. All he had was pain inside. He tried ‘normal’ societal stuff, but everything lied to him. It’s like moving house to move out of awkward pain, it won’t work.
The novel isn’t about me making a sweeping statement of love telling us lies, but it’s my struggle to get to grips with Max looking into his bag of dark stuff – whether it’s true or not – and still living a life, albeit a suffering one. That’s why Running Away is a journal, Max’s journal.
I suppose we need delusions to keep us hopeful – or do I sound too cynical? If only Max had been able to go into his dark bag of tricks and learn to see and accept himself, just as he is! That is the path to autonomy. But Max kept his dark places dark. He lied to himself. His ‘self-love’ lied to him.
With Running Away I tried to open Max’s black bag to liberate him from his past and allow him to become what he is, dark or light, happy or sad. Much as I wanted to relieve Max of his turmoil, I put him through it so that he could learn to face himself and go on to embrace the world.
This ‘mindfulness’ of learning to see and accept ourselves just as we are came to me through writing about how we often lie to ourselves.
P.D.Ouspensky, The Fourth Way, ‘The Psychology of Lying’, based on the Teaching of G.I.Gurdjieff, 1957, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London;
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are, ‘Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life’, 1994, Piatkus, London;
Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now, ‘A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment’, 2001, Hodder & Stoughton, London.
Beier, A. (2009) Running Away, A Journal, www.counsellingkit. com