For thirty years, Titanic has held my fascination. My interest in the pride of the White Star Line first appeared when I was browsing and flicking through a maritime encyclopedia owned by a relative of mine. That such a majestic and gigantic ship could be built for me was one thing, but it was quite another that it had sunk. News of the rediscovery of the wreck of Titanic had been well circulated the previous year, and with my interest now piqued, so begun a lifelong fascination for the Ship of Dreams.
Over the years I have waited for the first photos of the wreck to be released, and have watched every single movie, episode, documentary, and read practically every book I have come across on the subject. I have always dreamed of being able to write a book on the subject myself, though in all honesty, I can scarcely figure out what I could possibly add that hasn’t already been written about. This in turn lead to me sharing my interest about Titanic with my eldest daughter, an interest she now eagerly shares with me.
It was the culmination of a lifelong dream, or rather, as close to it as can be seeing as I can not even come close to affording a voyage down to Titanic myself, to have gone to Belfast last year, and to have been so close as to touching the history of the Titanic. I loved every moment I spent in Belfast, and loved the fact that I shared these special moments with my daughter, moments that will live long in the memory.
On New Years day, a new documentary on Titanic was released, seemingly theorising that a boiler room fire was to blame for the eventual sinking of Titanic. As someone who sees anything with the word Titanic in it as something that cannot be missed, I sat down with my daughter to watch it and we were both fascinated. Especially with the technology that brought the 2D photos to life and in 3D, when they showed the launch of the Titanic, it honestly felt like we were watching history, like we were there when the ship itself was launched.
The next aim for us is to go once again this year to Belfast to visit the drawing rooms wherein Titanic was designed, and to be able to show the rest of our family, and have them experience hopefully the same wonder and amazement that we did. This brings me to the novel that my daughter and I hope to write. I’ll admit we have procrastinated with the novel somewhat, though this has mainly been borne of our obsession to getting every single solitary detail perfect.
Part of our hope for this novel, is a chance for us to relive what it must have been like, physically, emotionally and mentally to have travelled on Titanic, from building, to boarding and sinking. We desire this novel to be as realistic as possible in that respect, so we both hope to be able to find a character, that would both fit society at the time, and that would have been a realistic characterisation of the type of passenger that we have chosen to write about.
My main inclination has been to write about a third class passenger, since it would fit the narrative of the tragedy itself, and perhaps shed a little light on what the impression that Titanic would have had on a third class passenger, and unfortunately, the fate that it held for passengers of third class. My daughter has insisted that the passengers (and thus the protagonists of our novel) should be a father and daughter hoping for a new life in America, so we pretty much have a concept in mind for what we want our characters to be like.
The next step for us is to visit further exhibitions, going hopefully as far as Liverpool and Southampton to be able to gain whatever knowledge we can therein. We also hope to be able to research into the quality of life third class passengers would have had both on board the ship and before they boarded the ship, the apparel they would have worn, basically as much detail as we can possibly have. The research on this must be extensive, if we are to create something wherein real emotion and realism can be drawn from.
It’s interesting in a way, Titanic has been a sort of part of me for so long, that it almost feels personal to me, and I honestly do not mean any disrespect to anyone nor do I mean to demean the experiences of those that were lost on Titanic nor their families, nor to any of the survivors. I have been for so long on in the shadows of the Titan, that I gaze upon that shadow and consider it my own, and I now get to share this with my daughter. This is what amazes me about the Titanic itself, one hundred and five years later, and new stories are being made because of Titanic and are being written about Titanic. This for me, is a very small but meaningful part of the legacy of Titanic, the Unsinkable Ship, which still fascinates and amazes people to this very day.
Until next time,