Girl on a Bus.

When I was fourteen or fifteen I saw a girl staring out of a
bus window. She was four or five years older than me, very pretty with long
dark hair. But it was not her looks which attracted my attention. It was the
desolation in her face. She looked lost in a gulf of despair, hopeless and
helpless. I was transfixed by her.

What could make such a lovely young woman look like that,
feel like that? I wondered what it was like to be her, and then I wondered what it was like to be any other person, to see
through their eyes, move with their body, think with their thoughts, wake with
their dreams. I have been wondering it ever since.

The girl became the female lead in my first, long-gone
novel.

When I’ve discussed this puzzle with other people I
usually draw blank looks. They either don’t understand what I mean or say,
‘Well, of course, everybody is different.’ And then they turn away as if that
were the end of the matter.

I have just started to read ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ for a Coursera course in Historical Fiction.

Tyrone Power Snr., father of movie star Tyrone...

Tyrone Power Snr., father of movie star Tyrone Power, as Sidney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities, ca. 1899-1901 / photographer Hammer & Co., Adelaide (Photo credit: State Library of New South Wales collection)

I was pleased, and relieved to see that Dickens wrote these words:

‘A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature
is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.’

It is a wonderful fact.

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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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