Deep within me is a story. A story inspired by places, people, snippets of conversation, flea market finds and books. The characters have come to me over the years, introducing themselves in the strangest of places. Some have appeared out of nowhere and blabbed their life story to me within minutes. Others have followed me round for twenty years, slowly gaining the courage to let me in on their tale. Still others have shown up and hinted at startling elements of their lives before vanishing without me having had a chance to get to know them better.
Books that I have bought, found or been given are helping me gain a better insight into some of those lives. For me an old book is much more than a book. A battered hardback with a name inside or a prize book with congratulatory words in an elegant hand is a link to a life lived before my time.
Well-thumbed cookbooks, school books with hand-written notes, pristine condition novels – they all hold a fascination for me, letting me gain insight into the social history of the time, the social status of the owner. It is easy to imagine, looking at these books, which ones were treasured, well-used or simply stood on a shelf for decades.
It feels almost as if these books have found me, rather than I them. All but one gathered from places I have lived, in a way they tell the story of my life and the countries I’ve spent time in as well as being an inspiration for the story I hope some day to write.