Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Writing about Ghosts

Writing books is a strange thing to do. Inventing worlds of one’s own to live in. My very first novel at the age of 16 was called My Little World and that happened to be in Camden Town for some reason. Maybe because a lot of Greek people lived there and one of my characters was a Greek girl. Maybe because I'm half-Greek myself . Some people live in very strange worlds if their books are anything to go by. Don’t tell me anyone invents the characters from thin air or mere observation of others. That may play a part but then one has to ask…what is it about a particular person that intrigues, interests, captures your imagination? Is it not a resonance with something in yourself? These people reside inside the psyche and are like voices or like ghostly presences that float around in the mind all one’s life. Writing is actually a form of exorcism…the ghosts have to be given life and form, they have to speak out.

I once went to a past life workshop run by a Jungian therapist called Roger Woolger.
(see This took place at Runnings Park, a beautiful venue that once existed in West Malvern. It was my very first visit to Malvern and I fell in love with the hills and the quaint Victorian town, once a healing spa, still famed for its pure springs and waters. Little did I know I would come to live here one day but I suppose deep down the pull began at that very first view of the ancient Malverns from the train. The sight of them actually made me weep with some sort of soul yearning. It seemed the only place to be at peace.
Now I look out from my window and see them every day. They never fail to soothe my spirit.

At the past life workshop, I encountered a lot of strange people, some inside my own soul, some around me in physical forms. I do believe in reincarnation but to this day don’t know if what I experienced so deeply was memories of past lives or bits of my psyche telling their story. Writing is just like this. One writes almost in a trance state sometimes and the characters begin to speak. They know exactly what to say to one another and where they are going. The conscious "I " hasn’t a clue half the time. The plots take their own twists and turns and refuse to follow any pre-ordained notions of what is going to happen.
I still keep re-writing My Little World and it changes plot every time. It’s all summed up in my favourite quote from Ignazio Silone

‘ I would willingly pass my life writing and re-writing the same book…that one book every writer carries within him…the image of his own soul’

If you are interested in writing tips take a look at Neil Whiteland’s blog.

1 comment:

Lisa R. Carney said...

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Favourite Quotes

  • My home is my retreat and resting place from the wars: I try to keep this corner as a haven against the tempest outside, as I do another corner of my soul. Michelle de Montaigne
  • Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony: Mahatma Gandhi
  • Friends are people you can be quiet with. Anon.