Tuesday 22 May 2012

Some thoughts on uniforms, soldiers and Nazis

It's one of the topics I find endlessly fascinating. War, and those who do war. The culture of war. What war does to people both on a collective and individual level. The last months, I've almost completely focused on WWII in my reading, writing and thinking. I think my co-writers are beginning to think I'm nuts. Every conversation ends up derailed with anecdotes like, "Did you know that Goering did..."

I call it total immersion. I'd quite like to do nothing but travel to the relevant museums and archives and locations, but in the absence of a few million in the bank to grant me that gentleman of leisure lifestyle, I'm doing the best I can with primary sources (letters and diaries, but also music and films/footage of the time), secondary sources (books and documentaries) and anything else I can get my hands on. I'm hoping to go up to Duxford and visit the Messerschmitt fighter plane they are keeping there for a nebulous idea I've had.

For the current novel, I'm pretty tempted to go to Paris and take my new camera to shoot the locations. Above all, that would be Montmartre, but also the general area where the Germans had their HQs. The photos I have bookmarked on the internet already help, but I only viscerally understand a place when I've walked it. (On that note, every long walk in London, especially those I do with guests who are often interested in things I wouldn't have sought out by myself, helps me come to grips with this city.) So, Paris. Eventually. Again. And this time, no "Louvre as extreme sport." It'll need some planning - I'll actually have to make a list of the places I want to see and photograph as visual references.

In any case, it's Men in Uniform Month over at Chicks & Dicks, and they invited me and kept hassling, so I rewrote my original 2k post on soldiers yesterday night - I'm amazed it made any sense at all. You can find it here. 

And now I'll try to find even a few words for my historical novel and then wrap up an editing project tomorrow. I'm so close towards the end, but editing/thinking when I'm so tired doesn't do anybody any favours.

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