Time and life wait for no man or woman, and I feel it now more than ever, so it’s time to say a few things–even though it must necessarily be subjective, limited, and utterly one-sided, with not enough time for reflection and refinement (because the time doesn’t exist).

Such as that, around 1995-96, things were going not so well for me, at least not in line with my and my wife’s expectations. Medications (many of them new and pushed by aggressive drug companies that had fudged the trials, hidden unsavory information) that changed my behavior, self-confidence, even affected me biologically (story of my drug experiments, or how I was experimented on, told in my book, Benzo Land: How Doctors and Drug Companies Enslave Us). A novel I had pinned all my hopes on, The Revised Kama Sutra, which the Knopf editor-in-chief Sonny Mehta had praised and held for 14 months, and which my editor David Davidar, thought would be a worldwide success, and which had been a roaring critical success in India, had not done as well in other countries, especially in America, where I lived (my British editor said, in 1997, if only my novel had appeared in the Western market in 1997 instead of 1994, it would have as much of a hit as any other Indian book), and where my wife was too, too sensitive to the opinions of her peers and wealthy socialite friends, as well as her social standing, which by then had become gargantuan.

So I made a pact with her: Give me a couple of more years, and if I don’t succeed, I’ll commit suicide, and you can collect on the half million dollars that would be due to you from my life insurance, which had a suicide clause (double in case of suicide).

A couple of years later, there still was not the hoped-for pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and it was time for me to fulfil my promise.

But I reneged. Not because I loved my word less, but because I loved my children more, so much in fact–they were the sweetest 7, 9, and 12-year-old boys in the world–that I didn’t want them to be left fatherless. My wife needed half a million bucks far less than my children needed to have their father undead.

And by then (actually long before, though I did not make it clear enough), I had realized that these materialistic, financial goals and yardsticks were bullshit; they were not a true test of literary achievement and quality (often, quite the contrary). I had much more to write and publish than one novel (Penguin India, etc) and one book of essays (HarperCollins India), and I owed these books and my continued striving to myself, to my readers, and my children. Dead men don’t write books. My children needed to know I was a fighter. A highly imperfect human being, but one with a moral core; suicide would have been cowardly. They needed to hear my story, just as I had, in my father’s final years, read his story and come to love and understand him more than I previously had.

The cause was far greater than a silly pact that a drugged, rattled, and desperate I had made with a formerly loving and supportive, but now-changed wife. (William Faulkner would have agreed.) And perhaps just four of the books that followed–Impressing the Whites, Fathers Rebels Dreamers, What We All Need, and The Killing of an Author–were worth my having survived and persisted. The books I have yet to publish may indeed prove to be my best.

The story of the events leading up to the suicide pact itself is told in my book, The Killing of an Author, which a hit-woman at Publishers Weekly tried to stop with a deviously dishnoest review that reduced it to a few simple complaints rather than a story of a literary and publishing odyssey in which the author almost lost his life, and of the story of suppression of subversive writers by the Establishment. Which was what happened: the book was never distributed either in the U.S. in India, and only appeared in a few stores in Bangalore. (It is now available in paperback from Lulu and Amazon, and in e-book form from nearly all major platforms, including Google Play, Apple, BN.) It is now obvious that someone distributes medals to those who suppress and have suppressed my books.

A more complete story will be told in a book in progress. And much more has to be written or completed and published: Around 1.5 million words, comprising approximately ten books, have already been written, and I only hope I survive to edit, complete, and publish them all. I do appreciate my freelance editorial jobs and clients, because they make my life possible, but this work leaves me little time for writing my own books. Poverty is a wonderful thing for a young writer (Henry Miller, in Tropic of Cancer), but when you’re much older, too long a period of precarious, insecure living impinges on your freedom of expression. [Meanwhile, if you support my writings and my efforts at truth-telling writing, with unfettered freedom of expression, you are welcome to show your support at  https://www.paypal.me/richardcrasta