'What's it all about,' as Cilla warbled, 'Afie..ee?' What I seem to have stumbled on, of late, is what I have seen somewhere described as 'the fictional recreation of actual events' - drama/narratives that don't claim to be history but are (considered) suggestions of how things may have happened. In my case, these concern literary or artistic figures. Why not Prime Ministers or great jockeys, say? It's because the process of artistic creation is a subject of the greatest interest to someone – this jobbing playwright - who has the daily experience of making things. In their lives, the people I portray are flawed. In their work they can be God-like. I make links between their lives and their creations but at heart it's all a mystery. I've just seen my friend David Eldridge's very accomplished play at the Almeida, 'The Knot of the Heart.' It's about addiction. There is a scene almost at the end of the play where a family secret is revealed. I wrote to David, who has written a number of English versions of Ibsen's plays, that while Shakespeare, for all his detailed 'realism', isn't concerned about motivation, Ibsen is. I incline to the Shakespearean approach – mystery – rather than to Ibsen's explanatory secrets. Well, you pays your money. Life is not, finally, mechanistic. There is a dimension to things we don't understand. I didn't need or want an explanation for David's heroine's terrifying behaviour. Lear strides onto the stage and, with barely a reason why, divides his Kingdom (the diligent young script editor would surely feel the need to say: 'I think we need to give the audience a little more help here, Will..'). As the great man wrote in that same play: 'There is a mystery to things.' I have no settled religion and the more I have read of other faiths the less I am inclined to accept the finality of the Christian religion. But Christianity is the tradition in which I was raised. It has (as we say these days) 'issues' with homosexuality, but I forgive it for that - the more doctrine, someone said wisely, the less Christ. The Gospel accounts themselves can be seen as – part-fictional - recreations of actual events. A man goes up to Jerusalem at the time of the Passover. He has a group of followers. He may have healing powers. He is almost certainly a charismatic preacher, and so on. And, thirty years after his death, myths and stories start accreting round him, words placed in his mouth, no doubt. I understand this process. Groups of followers and/or a number of inspired individuals give the Nazarene some of their own characteristics. They interpret his life, re-cast him. Some of them make him God. Graham Greene said that the account of two of the disciples running towards the tomb at the end of John's Gospel made him question his own un-belief. There is a sense of actuality - of first hand account - in the writing. Is this testimony – Greene wondered – the disciple John's own words? What I like about those resurrection accounts in the Gospels are the disciples' bafflement, incomprehension. Any half-way well organised propaganda outfit would have tidied up this vital part of the story. I don't quite know what happened to me that May morning in Kent, only that I seemed caught up in something stupendous - so much greater than myself that I didn't recognise what had happened for a time, didn't write it down (there is only a passing reference in my notebooks) and, when I did speak about it, I broke down in tears. It was an experience that enabled me to start again, to become what I think is myself, to find a voice. Precarious mental state or genuine revelation? For a few years I read lives of the saints, those whose experience and outlook were, at some point, transformed/converted. I even fiddled with possible plays about one or two heroic 20th century religious figures – but have settled, these last ten years, for sinners: tumultuous, lecherous, egotistical, driven writers and artists who, every now and again, and sometimes despite themselves, turn out something astonishing, majestic works – novels, poetry, painting, plays - that constitute good deeds in this bad world. Secular saints.