The Rivendale Review
"It's a fact of life for an unknown author: getting published is a bit like coming up on the lottery. The odds are about the same - millions to one against
and the only real difference is it takes you years to fill out your ticket."
The Rivendale Review
Michael Graeme is the pen name of the author and webmaster of The Rivendale Review website. He was born in the North West of England in 1960 and grew up in a rural mining village. He attended local state primary and secondary schools, before taking up a technical apprenticeship with a large engineering company. He continued his studies at colleges in Wigan and Bolton on a part time basis, eventually gaining a Higher National Diploma, followed by the Engineering Council Part 2 certificate, which led to corporate membership of the Institution of Production engineers in 1986. He continues to earn an increasingly precarious living as a manufacturing engineer. Michael Graeme is married with two children, and still lives in the rural North West.
His true identity remains unknown.
His formal education, up to the age of 26, was primarily technical, and this led him to view the world in a very rational way. However, in the course of his studies, he noticed there were certain annoyingly indeterminate things that could not be pinned down and explained by equations, that there were many areas of nature that were simply too complex and too uncertain to be accounted for by the science and mathematics he had been taught. These things grew increasingly difficult to ignore - also difficult to ignore was the fact that there seemed to be something of a fanatical imbalance in the rational world view, something that did not begin to explain the human condition at all, and instead seemed to sneer at it. He felt this had led to a sickness of the soul, a sort of peculiar western angst, that it was a dangerous imbalance, disrespectful of nature and the inner world, and probably self-destructive.
Partly as a reaction to this, and partly in order to restore the balance within himself, the author developed an interest in metaphysics and psychology, and has studied these things in private for many years with no particular aim. He has explored them also in his fiction and his later essays. Michael Graeme was brought up in the Church of England but, while respecting the sensitivities of those who remain faithful to the traditional religious genres, he rejected all forms of organised worship as being both divisive of humanity and, speaking for himself, personally unrewarding. For most of his early adult years he did not consider spiritual matters to be of any relevance at all, until stumbling upon a copy of the I Ching, and from then has devoted his quieter moments towards developing a personal spiritual mythology, one loosely informed by the philosophies of Taoism, Buddhism, Jungian psychology and numerous idealist theories.
Michael Graeme began writing in his late teens. He completed his first novel, "Shadow of a Cloud" at the age of 22. The novel was universally rejected by the mainstream publishing houses and is now lost. Some versions of this biography might even go so far as to suggest that the author destroyed it himself in order to save embarrassment both to himself and his progeny. Other novels followed, including "Sara's Choice" (circa 1985), also universally rejected, and will probably be permanently lost in the near future if he can only remember where he put the manuscript. Later novels, written in the post typewriter, early word processor era, including "The Singing Loch" and "The Road From Langholm Avenue" were also rejected by mainstream publishers.
The Singing Loch was eventually self published in 2005 by the print-on-demand publisher Lulu.com. The Road from Langholm Avenue followed in 2007, as did "The Hexagrams of the Book of Changes".
Michael Graeme actually began publishing in 1995, when, writing under his real name, one of his shorter works unexpectedly found a home in a well known Irish fiction magazine. He has continued to write for this market, all be it modestly. In spite of this, the author's more speculative fiction and his longer works have failed to find a home anywhere in the printed press and after doing the rounds generally end up on The Rivendale Review.
The Rivendale Review then is home to the author's early published fiction, work that has long since slipped from the public view. It is also increasingly the vehicle of choice for his speculative and longer fiction - works that fail to find a home anywhere else. Admittedly, the speculative material is driven by the author's somewhat eccentric, metaphysical outlook on life, and so perhaps is difficult to place in either the mainstream or even the more murky backwaters of the publishing world, a world the author admits he has never fully understood, and no longer has any interest in wasting further time exploring. He has been quoted as saying that one can spend several years weaving one's soul into a hundred thousand words of text, and the next decade hawking it around like increasingly stale meat. It's a fact of life, he says, for an unknown author: getting published is a bit like coming up on the lottery: the odds are about the same - millions to one against - and the only real difference is it takes you years to fill out your ticket.
With the passing years Michael Graeme came to value more the business of writing itself, for its inner mystery, rather than simply the pursuit of publication, and, not forgetting, populist adulation. (Of course, should Michael Graeme ever become an overnight success, he may have cause to eat these words). His novels: The Lavender and the Rose, and Push Hands, were written entirely with a view to self publication and while he is sure they are far from perfect, the satisfaction gained from writing them remains unspoiled by having them repeatedly returned unread.
Michael Graeme lives quite an ordinary life. He shares a bungalow with his wife of 20 years, and their two boys. He works full time, tends his garden, and writes books. He walks in the hills and mountains of his native England, is an occasional illustrator, photographer, computer programmer, and voracious reader. At various stages in his life he has been a student of ballroom dancing, classical guitar, and archery. He is currently a student of Chen style Tai Chi and Qigong.