A fresh eye

Today’s featured photo is of the Hornby Library within Liverpool’s Central Library. The link with today’s Writing blog is merely that one of the two central characters is a librarian, and it is her I have been thinking about today.

Firstly , the usual quick details about the photo. I took it on a field trip to Liverpool with a local group of over 55s amateur photographers . The venue was Liverpool Museum, but I had arrived in the city early and wanted to look around the new, stunning library in which the planners had the foresight to retain the Hornby Library. The image was taken with my small Pentax K-50 in 2018 using an 18-55mm kit lens at 20mm. The camera settings were ISO 800, aperture f/4 and shutter speed 1/50 seconds. The photo was taken handheld.

I managed to read my new novel, A New Tangled Tango, up to the point where I had left off writing last week. I see that I’d written 2,000 words more than I remembered – just more than 10,000 words to date. I read it with my proof reader’s head on and found much to correct and improve. I’m still not sure where the plot is going – perhaps, as they say, the Spirit will move me.

I decided to change the Librarian’s name from Jennifer to Sandra. She was baptised as Cassandra. Those familiar with Virgil’s Aeneid will remember Cassandra’s role as priestess of the Temple of Apollo at the city of Troy. Both she and Laocoon – the High Priest – were credited with forecasting the destruction of the city if the Greek wooden horse were to be brought in with its concealed soldiers. ‘timeo Danaos et dona ferentes’ – I fear the Greeks even when they are bringing gifts

Cassandra’s beauty is said, in Greek mythology, to have persuaded the God Apollo to grant her the gift of prophecy in return for her favours. When she subsequently denies him he amends the gift such that her forecasts, however true, will never be believed. So, today, the name remains associated with seeing the future but never being believed. For casual use the name is usually shortened to Sandra, Sandie, Sandy, Cass or Cassie. I’m hoping that a change to the new name will later afford me an insight as to how I may drive the plot to a conclusion.

I have also given Sandra a pet cat: Chivers the marmalade tomcat. I had already given her a son and a 27 years old, married daughter. The daughter will now enter the plot with a year old daughter. I’m not sure yet how baby Emily will fit in, but the Spirit moved me!!!

Meanwhile I have been completing some research into the year 2005 in which the story is set. George W Bush was inaugurated as US President for a second term; the Kyoto protocol went into effect; Pope Paul II died; Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles; there was a UK General Election and four July bombings took place in London.

In 2005 I was about the same age as several of my characters, and was dancing the same dances they would have danced, but I have forgotten so much about that time. I’ve been garnering information from Doctor Google. What books were people reading? What music were they listening to? What were they wearing? What were they watching on television or in cinemas? What shape was the economy in?

There is a limit to online research. I intend to visit my local library tomorrow to ask the staff there about what happens during elections when the building is used as a polling station – how do they learn of the plans? Does the library remain open for users? What role, if any, do the staff play? I’m also hoping for some background information about the daily work of the library and its staff. Wish me luck. Other than visiting the library, I had a look through all the photos I took in 2005, but found nothing helpful. Finally, because Sandra and her daughter will be taking a woodland walk together in the next few pages, I looked up the photographs that I took, in April of this year, of blossom, trees and flowers, to see things that they might well have seen as they walked.

Not all, perhaps not much, of such research will feature directly in the book, but I hope that it will help me to portray a more authentic feel to the people and events described in its pages.

I have now created five new pages bearing nothing but headings, dates and a one sentence summary of what I intend to happen on those dates. I’ll see how that works out tomorrow.

Finally, someone else has liked my Blog. I think that makes five in total. Thank you today to The Travellothoner and DirtySciFiBuddha for your encouragement.

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