Every book he wrote was a bridge burned with a loved one.
It started with his wife of ten years who saw herself in horrid fun-house poses on almost every single page of his first novel.
"Those were just passing thoughts that might have come to mind when we were- But they don't reflect... what I truly feel about..., " he explained through fits and starts. He longed for the precision of a pen on an empty page. He tried to explain all of this to Pamela as she packed her bags, their daughter's and one of his as she didn't have enough luggage for her own clothes.
With the slam of a door that chapter of his life was over.
In trying to explain the mercurial nature of metaphor and misunderstanding, he wrote his second novel as an apology to his ex-wife. She didn't open any of the copies that he sent to her. The novels were fished out of the trash however by their daughter, Lucy. She saw herself depicted - zits and all - in hideous pubescent detail.
"He hates me because I'm a zitty monster," she concluded to herself after finishing the novel. He wasn't even given a chance to stumble his way through an apology.
His third novel deftly explored the difficult balance between family and work, leaving his agent's nose out of joint.
"You think you know people don't you and then they turn on you and make you out to be some kind of money grubbing slug that you're not." Once again he couldn't muster up the words needed to make amends.
The last book that James Bannister ever wrote was about an artist who burned images into wood. Upon completing it, he recognized himself in the title character.