Reviews

‘Christine Poulson’s wonderful sense of place brings Cambridge to life. Cassie overcomes the problems facing her with wit and guile aplenty and ensures the reader’s empathy from first word to last . . . an enthralling and engaging read that underlines Christine’s burgeoning reputation as a crime novelist to watch.’ [Stage Fright]

- SHOTS MAGAZINE

Something sensational to read in the train.

dsc02426‘I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.’ In that respect and in that only I am like Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest.

I first began to write a journal when I wrote my first novel. I am now onto notebook 25. I don’t write in it every day – far from it – but still it has become an essential part of my life. At first it was a matter of jotting down ideas or snatches of conversation overheard in café or an account of something that had happened that might one day be incorporated into a novel or story. Or I might sketch out the draft of a short story or write a piece of dialogue or a descriptive paragraph or two if they came to me while I was away from home. For, like Gwendolen, I always have my journal with me.

Over the years I began to record more personal stuff – such as how I felt about major events in my life, like the death of my mother. Above all I started to keep an account of our family holidays, in particular our many trips to Northern France over the last eight years. And now I am so glad that I did. Reading about them is a comfort and a way of visiting the life that I shared with Peter. Often, too, what I have written triggers other precious memories of things that I didn’t record.

I would encourage anyone, not just writers, to keep a journal. So much disappears as one moves forward in time, and is lost forever. But some can be saved: it need not all quite vanish.

The photograph is of me and Peter on the ramparts at Montreuil in Pas-de-Calais.

 

4 Comments

  1. Helen Hardie
    September 28, 2016

    I agree with you so strongly. I almost accidentally started a brief daily diary in 1961. I wrote them up in 5 Year Diary format and had 9 volumes – 45 years – tucked away in a small safe. Then, half way through year 46, we had a break in, and the safe, along with the 9 diaries, was lost. That was 2006. I can’t tell you how devistated I was.
    My retirement project was to transcribe the diaries into Word. At the time of the loss I had actually completed work on the first 10 years. So I have those. And the ten and a half years post 2006. But I do not think I will ever get over losing those other 7 volumes.
    A friend of mine commiserated with me with the word – They have stollen your life. And indeed they did. For so long I had it all there, practically in the hollow of my hand.
    Mine was a record of day to day events, and working through the years later was, as you say, lovely, and so full of surprises. They are treasures that cost so little, but reward so well.
    I am happy to hear how yours are proving their worth.

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      September 28, 2016

      Oh what a pity! I do feel for you. They were precious objects that can’t be replaced and yet are of no conceivable value to anyone else. I am glad that you have at least got some of them. I find it is amazing when I read through mine how much I had forgotten: full of surprises, as you say.I wish I had started much earlier.

      Reply
  2. moira @ClothesInBooks
    September 29, 2016

    How wonderful for you to have these journals now at this difficult time. I’m impressed that you’ve been so consistent in keeping them all that time. I don’t keep a diary/journal – but I am impressed by how useful old emails are as a diary, I can be reminded of important times and minor feelings and just whatever was going on at a certain time. I’m often surprised by which events were contemporaneous – I don’t remember them that way at all.

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      September 29, 2016

      Yes, interesting that emails can function in that way. I have only kept my going for 15 years, from when I started writing fiction and they are very sporadic, though I try not to let too long pass without writing something. They have a therapeutic function as well, allowing me to reflect on things. Yes, they are very precious now.

      Reply

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