January 12, 2020

Have successive generations of Scottish people romanticised their violent upbringing?

Neil Harrison, 56

In Scotland, physical chastisement was the traditional method of raising children. But, for parent and child, this can have long-term negative effects on self-esteem and general wellbeing. But I still hear people say that they were glad they were raised as they were – and that it’s the only way children will learn. They seem to deny its adverse outcomes. Especially on themselves. I wanted to take that denial as a starting point for a play and steep my main character in that kind of delusional thinking. But rather than create a drama that no-one would want to listen to, I thought I would wrap this serious theme in a comic plot: a light-hearted vehicle to get people talking about a heavy subject. So this story appears to be about a group of scammers exploiting a would-be writer. But his first novel reveals more than he intends. And the pressures of trying to get it published force him to realise that his idealisation of his father hides a darker truth.

Why Not Be a Writer?, 2020Radio play