This is the text of a lecture given in English in Amsterdam (The Netherlands), in 2008.
I translated it from the French language with the welcome editorial help of Randee Dawn Cohen, a fine, New York-based fellow writer.
I am often asked how a doctor gets to write fiction. Isn’t being a writer a completely different profession than being a caregiver ? Isn’t there any confidentiality problem involved with writing people’s stories ? How close to reality are my books ?
These questions are deceptively simple, and there is no easy answer. One doesn’t just start writing out of the blue. I have been writing for many years. I started writing when I was a child, long before I became a doctor, and have continued writing throughout the years. I was also a compulsive reader, then. Very early on, I made up stories based on the stories I had read. Some of them impressed me more than others. Usually, they had to do with love and death and time travel. Don’t all the stories that patient tell have something to do with those same topics ? (Yes, patients do speak about time travel... Their mind is a time machine.)