Fellow Writers Blog Hop (second Tuesday)
Back in the early 1970s I had a particular nightmare of a dream. Involving evil carpets and tube trains! I am a person who could say, if I didn’t know better, never dreams, so if I wake and I remember a dream, it stays remembered!
During the early 1980s I read a short piece, a paragraph no more, in the newspaper about a young policeman attacked by yobs. How a middle-aged man had come to his rescue. Splendid fellow.
In the 1990s during a menopausal hiccup I did a course on oral history and fell in love with archives.
Now in the early 21st century I have started writing, people often ask where inspiration comes from! From everywhere, is my stock answer; it doesn’t really satisfy but it is true, for me. In my short story collection I have heavily plundered both my childhood and my adulthood. Opened endless files in my memory banks of people I have known, met or just passed by in my travels.
My evil people-eating carpet now takes pride of place in my short story collection. The tube trains I discarded but that carpet, sitting in my mind all those decades, leapt onto the page with great youthful vigour.
My policeman paragraph sent me into a daydream of splendid heroines defending said cop against mighty odds! A whole story evolved over the course of a year, in my head only. A storyline which sent me, and my friend from forever, hot foot to the eastern seaboard of
to do research. Because, as I wasn’t a writer yet I thought I could do anything, even set my book somewhere I knew nothing about. We went three times loading suitcases with books, leaflets and photographs. No Google maps back then. I started my masterpiece – a piece of great literature! - but it was never finished because I took myself off to university – then the well-loved but unfinished masterpiece went into box in the attic to languish, snuffed out before having breathed in glory. America
Whilst studying for my Masters 'Oral History' and the archives took over my imagination; the stories of real people were fascinating. When I needed a framework for my novels a decade later it was to the archives I went, to Oral History. The Sefuty Chronicles are all about archival material, transcripts of recorded histories being set down by researchers. I’m on the third volume already.
My whole life serves as inspiration for my characters and plot lines; it’s just that some stand out for me. My policeman story? Well, as I say, it was well loved. I opened that box a while ago and re-read it. I discarded three quarters. Re-read again and thought maybe there were possibilities hiding among the words. Not as it was.
I am relocating the whole kit and caboodle to
Eastern England, the policeman is now to be a reclusive writer of dry informative articles. The American cop angle had been the crux of the original. Also an execution/murder which he took the rap for. That is causing a little problem with the new version – an unsolved murder/execution is central to the plot. Our police here are very rarely armed, our legal proceedings are very different. Would a kitchen knife and the North Sea suffice I wonder? !
Maybe I had better read another newspaper!