When I was 16 I saw a sad looking girl on a bus. She had eyes of constant sorrow; eyes which were overwhelmed and overwhelming. She could not have been more than nineteen or twenty.
The bus she was on drove off. I stood at the bus-stop, wondering what it would be like to be her. I’m still wondering.
What must it be like to be someone else? To see with their eyes, listen with their ears, think with their mind? What must it be like to wake up as another person? I have puzzled over this ever since.
This is the joy of being a writer, of course. We can play at being other people. I wonder how many of my characters are merely facets of myself. Or me as I might act if I were in different circumstances.
I don’t want to be anyone else, I’m quite comfortable with myself. But if I could….?
Gene Kelly would be a good choice.
Or a great traveller, voyaging across the oceans to discover new lands.
Or some poet in a Parisian garret who pretended to be tormented but really loved life.
I look at a picture of myself when I was 19, pretending to be a poet. I was actually standing in a field full of cows.
Do we get older or do our dreams?
Actually my dreams were the same then. To be a writer and enjoy it.
And now I am a writer and enjoying it even more than I dreamed I would.