Three months ago I replied to an advert for an ex-miliatary man who wanted a ghost writer. For those unfamiliar with the term, it has nothing to do with poltergeists or things that move in the attic late at night. Bryan has led an amazing life and wanted to tell his story but didnt know where to begin – so he advertised and interviewed a lot of people – and got me!
A friend of mine www.lucycripps.com is also ghost-writing for a palestinian man and she told me that she knows details of Davids life that she thinks not even his closest family members know.
I now known about Bryan’s first love and his second love, and indeed his simultaneous third and fourth love and the long series of liaisons that followed after. Thing is, I sit there and type. THats it. I dont talk, I dont interupt (reigning national champion 2012) and I just listen. There is the secret I never stop to tell him about one of my many funny and witty anecdotes, I just listen.
I know every month of his 74 years, I know how he felt at each emotional point of his life, I know how it felt to shoot someone when he was in the Army or how him and his mates dealt with bullies in The Royal Navy. I know why his marriage broke up, I know about the low points in his life that he has told me with absolute honesty.
I know what he talked to The Queen Mum about, how many times he met the Queen and how he helped Prince Philip when he missed his foot on board ship.
Ghost writng is an independent observer in someone elses life, its a gift really, it allows me to move around 1960’s London, to be aboard ship and to climb sand hills in The Yemen.