Real-life characters you won’t meet anywhere else.
Hello, I’m Arthur. I have two last names: Arthur Meek, and Arthur Warring. They mean different things to different people, but they’re both just me. I’ve spent nearly 20 years writing for stages, pages and screens. During that time I’ve encountered some incredible characters - many IRL, more through reading (often because they’re long since dead). I’ve brought several to life on stage, but most don’t fit. Usually I don’t figure that out until I’ve spent months and years with them. I know them really well and I want you to know them too.
One of my favorite books is I Claudius by Robert Graves. I don’t know much about Graves, but his writing makes me feel like I have intimate knowledge of the thoughts and deeds of a person who ruled the Roman Empire from AD 41 to 54.
That sheer believability is a magical experience conjured by a delicate dance between good writing (that’s on me) and a distraction-free reading environment - that’s the uniquely digital, mobile-first experience that Substack offers you.
This could be the start of a beautiful friendship
Every issue of Citizens of Nowhere is delivered directly to your inbox, so you can read it in peace on your phone with no buzzy ads or fussy browsing. It's the online relationship I've always dreamed of: contemplative, curious and word-first - with lots of opportunity to play. The comments section offers us a community forum where you can get me to fill in gaps and expand on things that pique your interest. If that sounds interesting, sign up now.
I’m going to take you with me on rambles into characters and situations worth writing about well.
You’ll meet them through short stories - about 10 minutes worth of reading - or through serials - multi-part episodes, each of short-story length. I’m excited about these because they give me the chance to toss in a cliffhanger or two!
The characters I’ll be introducing you to include - but are by no means limited to -
George Leitch - a 19th-century theatrical impresario behind The Land of the Moa - the most ambitious, most disastrous melodrama in Antipodean history.
The Wanker will take you into the mind of a homophobic failed politician from the US bible belt who exiled himself to New Zealand to assist in the aftermath of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. Somehow he ended up becoming a house-calling sperm donor to a jaw-dropping number of lesbian couples - which helped to fulfill their mutual ambitions to become biological parents.
I want you to meet Charisma - the short, fat horse with the massive heart whose relationship with Mark Todd took them both to double Olympic gold.
I want you to know Samuel Butler the anonymous author of one of the most influential satires of all time - who saw his career fade out after revealing his name to an underwhelmed public. Did Banksy learn that lesson?
I want you to discover Antonie Van Loewenhoek - the 17th century self-taught Dutch scientist who used home-made lenses to become the first human to see microscopic life. But the Royal Society wouldn’t believe him! He was only a draper, after all, and he couldn’t speak Latin.
I want you to witness the life and death of The Special Patroller - the ferocious free-range hamster that showed me the value of refusing to inhabit a perfectly comfortable cage.
I’ll try to publish a new issue every week for you to enjoy with your Friday lunch
Or save it to readover the weekend. Back issues will be available on my website with a clever color coded system, so you’ll never have to start half-way through!
It’s free-wheeling and free
Nothing profits me more than good writing. Check out this from James Baldwin:
“Sentimentality, the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion, is the mark of dishonesty, the inability to feel… the wet eyes of the sentimentalist betray his aversion to experience, his fear of life, his arid heart; and it is always, therefore, the signal of secret and violent inhumanity, the mask of cruelty.”
from Notes of a Native Son
That’s valuable to me. I’m prone to sentimentality - and it’s prized by audiences in each of my various pursuits. Thanks to Baldwin’s writing, I can recognize it as a vice to be avoided, repented and never indulged. For now, I’m not putting a dollar value on our relationship. It’s not because I’m sentimental about writing as a public good. It’s because I don’t know what I’ve got, what it costs me or what it will mean to you. Once we’re clearer, we can figure out a range of options. One of them will always be free. In the meantime, let’s conversate.
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