At 14:30, 14th August 2009, I had an epiphany. It was a great day. I was researching in the library, and serendipitously there it was: the life-changing text, closeted away on 35mm micro-film. Life-changing for the better? Well, not yet, maybe never. But that's the nature of the beast, and it depends what you mean by 'better'.
In any case, it got me thinking: yes, this - this is why I'm here.
I wanted more.
It was the beginning of my journey into a subject and field of knowledge sorely lacking. One that was crying out for people like me: authentic, passionate and dedicated - people prepared to make sacrifices - as many writers/researchers do in pursuit of their passions make sacrifices. But (due to the nature of this particular beast), this required more sacrifice than most.
It led to my reading many subversive texts: socialist, feminist, literary, memoirs and autobiographies, and stories - fact and fiction - by authors from history who wrote about their struggles and experiences and certain kinds of protagonists for whom life is not a beach or one long party. People who fought against the unfairness that life had dealt them: some winning, some coming to terms with their incapacity in the scheme of things, and others just telling their own unremarkable stories for the sake of telling, but unwittingly writing themselves into history.
Texts I identified with: recognised the struggle, the anger, the desire and yes, the despair.
I needed these books in my life.
But that which inspired and motivated me those years ago has also hampered me. And the irony hasn't escaped me. But at least I now know I was shackled from the start.
And the life-changing text?