Archives for January 2010

The Ghost Writer Movie

Roman Polanski's £21 million film The Ghost Writer will be premiered during the 60th Berlin Film Festival from 11 – 21 February.

Based on the best selling novel The Ghost by Robert Harris, Ewan McGregor stars as a ghost writer hired to pen the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister Adam Lang, played by Pierce Brosnan. The politician is facing criticism for his support of the US during the war on terror. The similarities to real life ex-PM Tony Blair are quite striking but is it really based on his life? Former political journalist Harris, who knows Tony Blair,  says he was inspired in part by the fact that the former Labour PM could possibly face a trial for war crimes, but says there are quite a number of differences between the Lang character and Blair.

This novel has a special significance for me. The beginning of each chapter has a quotation from a book called 'Ghostwriting' by UK's top ghostwriter Andrew Crofts. Inspired by these pearls of wisdom, after reading the novel I immediately bought the Ghostwriting book and then contacted Andrew Crofts offering to be his ghostwriter. Well, I thought I would get marks for originality!

To cut a long story short, I ended up promoting Andrew's new novel online (The Overnight Fame of Steffi McBride)and also being mentored by him as a ghostwriter. And what better training for a ghost than the superghost himself?

Now I am a ghostwriter too and throroughly enjoying every moment. I haven't yet been invited to Martha's Vineyard by a politician to write his memoirs, but it's early days…

Paying Attention

I have a rather unusual New Year's resolution.

I am trying to pay attention to the present moment, as advocated by Eckhart Tolle in his book The Power of Now, which I have been reading avidly.

I am appalled at how my butterfly brain flits about from thought to thought – the past, the future, work, what to make for lunch – and spends so little actually enjoying the here and now.

So this morning on my daily excursion with the dogs to the woods behind my house I did my very best to stay in the moment. No more dreaming of novel plots and going through my day's workplan. I studied trees, branches, twigs, dew on twigs, reflections in dew on twigs, my feelings about reflections in dew on twigs…

I listened to roaring water cascading down the rocks from the incessant rain of the past few days, heard soft melting snow drop off bushes and smelled damp earth. Every time I wandered off mentally I snapped my attention back to the present. I had to do this about a thousand times.

But you know what? It was worth it, because I happened to notice my smallest dog standing on the edge of a bank, ears pricked and hackles raised. Normally I am so lost in thought that an alien spacecraft could land next to me and I wouldn't look up. So I stopped and looked over the bank. There was a huge black lumbering shadow about thirty feet away in the mist. I thought it was one of my other dogs, but quickly realized it was too big. It moved closer and then I saw it in all its hairy scary glory – a wild boar! I know they live in these woods as I've seen their trotter tracks, but in four years here I have never seen one.

I made a quick exit feeling slightly shaken up, but very excited that I had been rewarded for being fully present.