Wednesday, 3 August 2011

When fiction is better than cloning

Much non-fiction tends to be cloned or borrowed. Internet searches prove this time and time again. Do a search on any theme and you keep coming across the same words as well as the same topics. There has been a fair amount of cutting and pasting.
It’s great of course, when you come across some genuine archive material. I’ve been looking though the BBC People’s War archive and some survivor interviews from the Auschwitz to Ambleside exhibition from the Holocaust Educational Trust. The interviews tell stories that run deep, though they’re not quite exactly in the realms I’m dealing with. The BBC archive contains material that comes from people’s memory although a diary of a Custom’s Officers – I was looking at reserved occupations at the time – gives a fascinating account of what daily life was like. Work and sleep were both interrupted so much from the air raids.
But where one hasn’t got this wealth of first hand material, I find it better to explore it through fiction, rather than taking someone else’s word for it. That is very much a key feature of this project.
I’ll also of course, funds permitting, try to experience some journeys and places – Minehead, the journey from London to Minehead, some of the German places in Bavaria and maybe the death camps. .

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