Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Back to work with ol' Sawbones

I've been distracted from working on my book lately. Filming the documentary about Mermaids and a string of sad events, including Malina's death, have wrong-footed me. Yet, apart from needing to let events sink in and come to terms with a new reality, taking time out from your work is so important. Not least because having a rest can give you a fresh eye when you go back to it. "Give your brain a vacation", says an article I've kept from years ago. And I've found that when I let go of the creative process, the project finds its way back of its own accord.

The book is back on track thanks to Sally Frampton, a medical historian at University College London. She took part in the documentary and during filming she asked me if I knew about two trainee surgeons in The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens's serialised first novel. I didn't, so as soon as I got back after filming I found it on the Kindle and started to read it. Dickens calls the men "a couple o' sawbones", which I find deliciously telling. I won't say too much about it because I'm having lots of fun working the characters into my book. They may be truly revolting, but they've got me back into the swing of things, and I'm rather fond of them now. Back to work then, Sawbones!

Conviviality at Bob Sawyer's
Phiz (Hablot K. Browne)
May 1837
Steel Engraving
Dickens's Pickwick Papers
Scanned image by Philip V. Allingham at VictorianWeb

No comments:

Post a Comment