Friday 4 November 2011
Ghosts of Inspiration: N M Browne
I am not writing a historical novel at the moment. That’s not unusual in that there have been considerably more days when I’ve not been writing a historical novel than days when I have. However the fact that there are days when I write historical novels changes everything. You know how it is when you get pregnant and suddenly there are babies everywhere, having written historical novels suddenly there are historical stories everywhere, lurking in corners, half glimpsed in my peripheral vision, the ghosts of books not yet written.
I go househunting and find myself mentally reinstating houses into their original state, rebuilding walls – as having internal ones seems rather unfashionable these days. I go shopping and find myself trying to reconstruct the earlier geography of the town, I walk the dog in Richmond Park and the Royal hunt rides past. I feel most acutely aware of the past, in wild places, outdoors which seems a little perverse, as it is where there are no artefacts. The ghosts are there though in the landscape - in the planting of trees, the draining of land, they are there fishing in rivers and hunting in the woods. I can imagine them drenched by the same rain, buffeted by the same wind walking beside me. I think I’m going to have to write another novel if only to get the ghosts off my back.