Dyce is an attempt to distance the author from playing principle boy in stories; an alternative to ‘I’. One word, like Rebus, Bosch and Morse. A detective, a bit like a medic or a researcher, trying to discover stuff, only the purpose is different. Yet the processes may be similar. Dyce is short for Dyson, Son of David.
The idea started with Conan Doyle and his Edinburgh teacher, Dr Bell. Focus, persistence, doggedness and intelligence.
Dyce’s story starts as a working class boy when he learns that he is not up to much, living in the shadows of a brighter older brother. Father tends to be morose and difficult to please, always fighting with older brother who has a tendency to clever remarks, or so he thinks. The likely issue to spark off dispute would have been who is right. Both have a tendency to make things up. Father, whilst encouraging high academic achievement, gets angry when challenged. Whilst Dyce lives under pressure to get his head down and conform he does find his own voice, albeit off message and childish, thinking he is funny or simply trying to impress. He eventually learns that what parents and teachers are saying has a point. Whilst they and older brother are no longer in his face, he’s heavily socialised into the useless role. By 18, this has gone deep. On the surface, he feels he knows everything and there is a touch of cockiness and arrogance. He and his pals are all socialists, the answers to fairness and equality coming from taking stuff from posh rich people. This is the beginning of ambiguity as he is about to enter the world of posh rich people.
He achieves money, power and status, having resented others with these things. He is a spiritual meritocrat, professional by virtue of passing exams. Yet his is socially challenged with a continuous identity crisis.
On the plus side he matures in work, success coming with alliances and being on message. He is professionally competent, hard-working, seeking the best for patients and staff. Using evidence to find out things, he often revisits evidence to seek other interpretations (a bit like revision when writing). Hunches and intuition become important. It’s the melody and the dissonance of ill people. He manages messiness, mistakes, illogicalities and antisocial hours. He moves into the world of dinner parties.
Moving up the food chain however, into management, pursuing the truth and justice are not the priorities. Clashes with colleagues and authority and cynicism follow. He becomes more uncomfortable with privilege and unearned success, being above the law. His family do not belong in the officer class.
He seeks ways out. Conan Doyle had wide interests. So too does Dyce but sometimes a lack of focus dilutes the effort, moving round too many things and not bottoming stuff, not wanting to be caught in a pigeon-hole. He admires those who stick to the task, despite all the people and politics that take the pleasure out of it. He cannot do this himself.
The wheels came off in the 1994. Retired 1997. Returned to part-time work 1999. Retired 2011.