This is the working title of a new project: an idea that has been nipping away at me for weeks now. It is very hard to describe this process - the sheer compulsive delight of it - to anyone who doesn't work creatively. But it is, I suppose, the answer to that perennial question - every writer has heard it, at almost every reading - where do you get your ideas from?
THIS is where you get your ideas from, except that it's almost impossible to define what 'this' is! It's a process, I suppose and you feel it as much in your stomach as in your head! Butterflies, like the feeling you got as a child, when you were anticipating something wonderful. Something seen or heard or discovered, sparks something else in your imagination. And then you spend days, weeks, sometimes months, thinking about it all, often in the early hours of the morning. On this occasion, I was quite alone, visiting a place, (briefly) at a particular time of day, at a particular time of the year. It was a place I had written about before, but the character who came into my mind had nothing to do with that. This was a new person, new to me, but it was as if I was suddenly looking at something through her eyes and with her memories. This is a very odd sensation, for sure, but it is also very wonderful, and more exciting than anything else I know. I knew instantly who she was, what she was doing there, why she had come back there, and what her memory of the place was. I also knew something about the history of the place. And I knew that there was doing to be some connection between the two. What I didn't know - and still don't, not in any great detail - is what exactly that connection is, and how the story is going to pan out. But I'm slowly but surely starting to put the pieces together. It always amazes me how this feels like 'finding out' rather than 'making up.' It's as if the story exists somewhere as a truth, and the writer's job is to tease it out, rather than invent.


Bill Kirton said…
It's a familiar feeling, Catherine but your description makes it sound sort of eerie, spooky, even a bit scary. But what a great, privileged feeling it is.
It is a bit spooky, isn't it? And you're right, it's a privilege. Another friend, a visual artist, told me that she 'lives happily inside her head' a lot - I knew just what she meant. But it's a long time before you realise that not everyone does it, or is contented to do it. Needs to do it, I suppose. In fact, in some circles, it would probably be seen as pathological!