Right, I’m back after a lengthy hiatus. I’d like to say that the interim period has been a hive of writing activity and one of my morsels of an idea has grown into the full meal of a novel.
But that would be too easy, right? Truth is, I’m no nearer to starting than I was 6 months ago. Actually, maybe a little closer. For some reason I’ve had an image in my mind for years of an elderly character, suffering from the early stages of Alzheimers/dementia, putting their iron in the freezer.
A bizarre snapshot, definitely. And I can’t explain where it came from. There’s a strong chance it came to me in a dream, as some of my better ideas have. 99% of those dreams I forget on waking, but this one stuck. Which means, purely by its rarity, that it is an idea worth pursuing. I think nestling behind the dream is a slight fear about the health of my father. Being 12,000 miles away adds an extra layer of worry for me, as I don’t see and speak to him every day any more. Just little things ring alarm bells when we talk. Occasionally he will lose the thread of the conversation entirely. He will repeat himself, tell me something we have discussed 5 minutes before. As I said, just minor events that every 70-something probably goes through. But it has seeped into my consciousness somewhere along the line – and now, the iron sits in the freezer, waiting to be explored.
But first, that key element of all good writing preparation – research. And I’ve forgotten how lovely it is to do. I armed myself with a notebook and pen, took myself to the library, found a couple of books on ALzheimers, and dove in. I’ve always felt a certain frisson of joy and accomplishment in reading about an unfamiliar subject and learning something new. It’s one of the simple pleasures in life. And some of the information I found will lend a few really nice touches to the character. Reading a list of symptoms, a fully formed scene started to flicker in my head, gradually coming into focus. Only one scene, but life will grow from the smallest acorns. That iron may just have sprung to life.
It could be nearly there. I could be almost ready to begin the journey again.