I was at a dinner recently where people were talking about writers who tried to write from the opposite gender’s perspective, i.e. a man writing as woman or a woman writing as a man.
It reminded me that it will be nearly two years since I created a fictitious blog under the name of Anne Browning entitled the Dominie’s Chronicle
I wanted to examine how our education system might respond to an outbreak of H5N1 (bird flu) and was particularly interested to find out if the system could maintain itself against a backdrop where the bureaucracy and management structures were destroyed.
Without planning the story I let it unfold in a series of almost daily posts where I imagined myself as a female teacher in Edinburgh – I’d selected a female character as I didn’t want anyone to guess who was behind the project and also to try to explore the situation from a completely different perspective. At its height there were over 300 people a day logging on to follow the story but I eventually ran out of steam . Looking back I don’t think I carried it off very well – some of the scenarios and actions were dubious to say the least. Nevertheless, some of the things I explored about shared management, the role of schools in our communities, and trying to think from a woman’s point of view all made quite an impact upon me – even if my writing was a bit “clunky”.
For a three month period in my life I lived another identity and tried to imagine what it would have been like to live under such circumstances
You can perhaps imagine my reaction in April of this year when I opened a newspaper in Hong Kong on my way to New Zealand to find out that the flu pandemic had actually started. Now that was definitely a case of having too much knowledge!!