Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Ear-wigging and thinking

It's amazing the things you think about when you are swimming. And it's amazing the things you hear, too. I've fallen into the pattern of swimming every other day, forty lengths first thing in the morning and I've found I have to take my notebook and pen poolside so when I have an idea I can write it down immediately rather than having to try and remember it for when I return home AND count my lengths at the same time(I find I get confused around the 16/17 length mark and have to do 2 extras at the end just in case I've miscounted). I don't know what other swimmers think about me bobbing in and out of the pool but then, without my specs, I can't see their faces, so I don't care.

I think it's the water. It's meditative. Many of my best ideas happen when I'm near water. Washing the dishes, in the shower, swimming, walking by the lake in the park, on the loo...(okay, maybe too much information there) but I do find when the wet stuff is flowing, so do the writing ideas. Like the other day, on length number 8, I had an idea for a story/book title. It was 'Indigo Antfarm, Violet and Blue.' I had a stern in-depth dialogue with my internal voice about that one, I can tell you.
'What's sort of a title is that to spring on someone?' I said. My internal voice shrugged. 'I dunno,' it said. 'You're the writer. I merely supply the ideas. That'll be a tenner please.'
'I refuse to pay for my own ideas,' I said. 'Come on, give us a clue. Who's the main character?'
The internal voice went very quiet at this point. Typical.

And then there's the domestic details I hear from old lady swimmers. Yesterday, for example, there were 4 old ladies swimming up and down in a line holding, from what I could work out, 4 separate conversations about the various shortfalls of their respective sons. They didn't shut up. Natter, natter, natter they went. It was non-stop. But I found out that Allan had a problem with a cat and a wheelie bin, David's wife hasn't a clue about boiling a pudding and she's STILL putting parsnips in everything, Jim and Freda took their mum to a Chinese restuarant for her birthday but she'd much rather have had one of those M & S 'dine at home for £10' meals, especially with her allergy, and Lily had her operation last week and did her son visit her? Did he heck. And it's all her fault (whoever 'she' might be).

It's all good stuff. And also, yesterday (it was a VERY productive writing day yesterday. So much so that I was still typing away when Andy got home from work and we ended up having masses of scrambled eggs and beans for tea which is okay as we have a backlog of eggs at the moment thanks to our industrious chicken girls but means that today I'm feeling a bit 'blocked' so a dose of syrup of figs might be in order and ...what? Too much information again? I do apologise) I had the urge to use some of my previous life experiences as fodder for a couple of short stories. And then I was flung into a bit of a dilemma. Would the people involved recognise themselves and sue me for defamation of character? No, not if I handle the content with sensitivity and respect. Could I get away with just changing names and appearances? Probably. Well, I just got on and wrote regardless. It was cathartic, if nothing else. Perhaps it could be start of my autobiography, I thought.

And then I sat and stared at 'Indigo Antfarm, Violet and Blue.' For a long time. And I still haven't got it. Perhaps I need to go for an extra swim.

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