Saturday, 28 April 2012

Now there's a thought... by Sue Purkiss

I read Ann Evans' post yesterday with great interest, and - all right, I admit it, just a tiny little bit of envy. She seems to have so many ideas that she turns into stories. At the end, she asked what was the oddest object/place/thing to have inspired her readers so far. Hm, I thought, trying to remember even one. Could be struggling here.

It was at this point that I glanced up at the calendar that hangs above my desk - and saw that the next Abba post was to be by, er, me. Curses! Not an idea in sight for that either. I reached for my notebook, desperately seeking inspiration.

And I got a bit of a surprise. First I came across the preliminary notes for a Christmas story about a small witch who lived in a large cave at Wookey Hole, which is not far from here. That was printed in the local paper last Christmas. Had forgotten about that. The seed for it was planted a very long time ago, when I made up a story for my little niece (who, incidentally, has just got married) about the Witch of Wookey, after we'd been to visit Wookey Hole. Apparently she was terrified by it for ages afterwards. If ONLY I could remember it.... the recent one was a very much milder version.

Then I came across the beginnings of a story inspired by my grandson, who is undeniably gorgeous but also on occasion Rather Naughty. Hm, I thought, reading about the mother who was a Very Fast Knitter. Intriguing. Must come back to that when I've finished climbing the mountain-so-much-higher-than-Everest that is my current work in progress.

Next up: the beginnings of a story about an old man who has to give up his allotment. Not very thrilling, you may mistakenly think - believe me, that story will plumb the darkest depths of the human heart: full of drama, tragedy and pathos, it will leave you feeling wrung out, such will be its power. (If I ever finish it.)

Turn over a few pages, and onto the stage comes the Willow Man. I've already written a book about him, so he really can't complain, but he's currently being threatened by a gigantic Morrison's warehouse apparently made out of green Lego - so perhaps he's due for another story.

And finally, one that's been niggling away since I went to Brittany two years ago and visited the inn where Gauguin and  some of his friends stayed for a few months: the Buvette de la Plage. But that one's still on the boil: no, no,  it doesn't matter how much you plead, I won't tell you another word. (The picture was taken nearby.)

So what have I learnt from this exercise?



  1. You should from time to time actually look through all those notes you've made in that oh-so-pretty notebook.
  2. It's not just about having ideas - it's about actually doing something with them.
  3. Hurrah! I have more ideas than I thought I did.

Now - I suppose I'd really better get on with the mountain-in-progress - and then I can take some of those fine ideas out, dust 'em off, shake 'em out, and show them the light of day...

15 comments:

Schez said...

Hi there! Your post made me giggle- I live around the same area, and yeah, what's with that great, big, green lego building plonked in the middle of the countryside?! I often hear myself saying that I haven't got any ideas, but then it's not until I stop and take a proper look that I realise that they are all around. Great post!

catdownunder said...

Never ever go anywhere without the means to write the ideas down! I keep telling myself that - and failing to take my own advice!

Penny Dolan said...

Nice post and useful remindeer.

I now have an "Ideas Box" for all those bits of paper I find in verious pockets. It's useful for collecting all those scraps where I've scribbled down key "idea" words when either a)I don't have the note book with me or b) I can't get at it when whatever inspires the idea appears. I do have an official "Ideas Book" to transfer them to - whenever the day arrives with that amount of spare organising time.

jongleuse said...

As a perennially disorganised individual I find my iPhone invaluable, both the photo and note function. I wish I could be one of those people who leave interesting notebooks with beautifully written fragments of prose and interesting doodles for posterity–but I'm not.

Sue Purkiss said...

That sounds a good idea, Penny. Schez - the funniest thing was that when I was looking for a picture of 'Legoland', I found an article saying that the green bricks which hem him in so closely were actually INSPIRED by the Willow Man!

Ann Evans said...

Glad my post helped your post Sue! I think it's great when you do come across ideas that you've forgotten about. Can't wait to read Witch of Wookey when you get time to write it!

Sue Purkiss said...

Yes - thanks, Ann!

Linda Strachan said...

Ah yes, notebooks.
Such a great idea but like you, I once came across a notebook where I had v neatly written down lots of unused ideas. It was fascinating as one had by then been turned into a picture book, another was completely uninspiring and I wondered why I had thought it worth noting down!
There was another that was completely confusing, I had no idea what it meant.
But I have to confess to buying notebooks when I see them, I just love having them around, small or large, pretty or just curious-looking.
The problem is I write a bit on one page then put it aside and forget to look at it again.
Note to self...go have another look!

Ricardo Miñana said...

Hello Sue beautiful space, a pleasure to read your letters,
if you like the poetry I invite you to my spaces,
Happy Sunday.
a greeting.

Linda Newbery said...

Hi, Sue - I think the Willow Man and the allotment story should meet each other. And that Gauguin story sounds intriguing, too!

It's great when an idea that's been sitting in your mind, or notebook, suddenly meets the other idea that sparks it into life.

Sue Purkiss said...

Now there's another thought, Linda - thank you!

Stroppy Author said...

Tidying up my office yesterday (a task rarely tackled) I found the first 'idea note' of a book I started in March. It was dated 1997. Ideas don't go stale, they just hang around and wait their turn!

Miriam Halahmy said...

I have a cupboard full of little notebooks and go through them from time to time. They really are a treasure house and even if I don't go on to use all those ideas, they are lovely to read through. Great post Sue!!

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