Other People’s Lives

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.

Who was I then? Have I voyaged much since then or discovered what I may have wanted to do all those years ago. And where did my hair go?  

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.


About Martin Lake

Martin Lake lives in the French Riviera with his wife. After studying at the University of East Anglia he worked as a teacher, trainer and company director. A serious accident shattered his arm and meant that he had to rein back his work. He decided to concentrate on writing and is now writing full-time. He writes a wide range of fiction. His main interests are historical fiction, short stories and fiction for young adults. Martin has a series of novels 'The Lost King' which are set in the years following the Norman Invasion of England. They concern Edgar Atheling, last representative of the ancient English royal dynasty and his fight to regain the throne from William the Conqueror. Martin has also published 'Artful' the further adventures of the Dodger and 'Outcasts' a novel about fall of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. His latest novel, 'A Love Most Dangerous' is about a maid of honour who becomes the lover of Henry VIII. Martin’s work has been broadcast on radio. He won first prize in the Kenneth Grahame Society competition to write a story based on 'The Wind in the Willows.' You can get the collection, 'The Wind in the Willows Short Stories' from Amazon.
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