Don’t get around much any more

Disclaimer: I love my Mac, adore my iPad, appreciate the knowledge that a Google search can bring to my screen.

But … I’m returning to a drama project based on a real-life character who died in 1939. I first researched him in the mid-1990s, when I read the few books about him, checked out their bibliographies to make sure I’d missed nothing, received hand-written letters from people who had known or knew about him, met some of them, and visited several places that were significant to his story. (Including Claridges, where he died.)

Yesterday I Googled his name and found nothing new or significant that I wasn’t already aware of. Googling ‘images’ brought up a few extra photographs, but nothing that altered my view of him.

So, were I starting to research him now, I could easily do it all from my desk and discover the same information. A couple of the books are even on GoogleBooks. Magic!

But …

I would have missed out on some very interesting encounters.

I would never have left my house.

And, without direct experience of voices, accents, intonations, architecture, colours, smells, atmosphere, weather or light and shade – and their effects on me – what would my writing have been like?

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