My PhD supervisors once advised me to set aside my thesis for a couple of months and then to reread it. It would be like looking at it with new eyes.
So, because this week I have passed the 82% funding level and hopefully will very soon be able to share this story with you, I have been going over The Undiscovered Country again, for the first time in several months. I’m trying to catch typos, ensure the tempo of the dialogue is right, and see if I can get Eamon to clean up his appalling bad language. He remains resistant.
This morning I left Eamon and Mick in the back of Toner’s pub, ruminating on the Amritsar massacre of 1919, and how such colonial atrocities just seem to blur into the memory of the perpetrators, hazy blips in their imperial nostalgia, while seared forever in grief in the minds of the victim’s families and countries. God help England, they conclude, if the boot is ever on the other foot – the railways they built may not be regarded as adequate compensation for all the lives lost and hopes sundered… Brexit gets everywhere, even into the imagined past.
I’ve packed the manuscript into my laptop now, and will get back to it next week, staying in a colonial era hotel amidst the tropical thunderstorms of Myanmar. Perhaps I will find some additional inspiration there, as I search for new means to end slavery in another country at war, as it tries to awaken from the nightmares of its past, and the poverty of it present.
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