Saturday 22 May 2010

The old inspires the new

Today was a pottering day. I knew I was going to write at some point but there was no rush. One son had to have surgery to remove the pins from his hand and I wasn't sure when I had to pick him. Consequently the day took on a fluid look. See what happens type of thing.

One of the things I had to do was get my mum's house ready to sell. It wasn't a sad thing to do as I dusted and polished all her belongings. Her favourite CDs blaring in the back ground. I anticipated it being upsetting and as I said it wasn't. Instead it was a time full of memories. The photo of my Dad in his parachute regiment uniform. Looking young and proud. I realise that both my sons have eyes just like him. There are photos of weddings, babies and graduations. Every single one has a whole feast of memories to match it. Ornaments that have invisible labels attached to each one, saying who it came from and why. The hippopotamus that my daughter brought back from Kenya when she worked in an orphanage for children with AIDs. The Ladro figures representing many a birthday and anniversary. The Japanese coffee set that was my grandmothers. There was so much happiness attached to every one. But also there were so many ideas flowing out of them - the old inspires the new.

What has this to do with my PhD? A very tenuous but important connection. As I pottered my mind emptied and the plot of a complete chapter started as a small seed and grew into a whole and powerful chapter filling a large part of my mind. By spending my time looking at other things and not trying force it the moment of inspiration just grew and grew. Things I was looking at triggered other thoughts which lead to twists in the chapter. Often you are asked where, as a writer, you get your ideas from. The answer is simple, everywhere, nowhere and over there in the corner. You just have to listen to yourself and let it grow without force. Let the nugget of an idea take hold before you push it. As I said in a previous post it is too easy for these thoughts/ideas to float into your head and promptly float out again without touching the sides. This is where you must make sure you don't chase it away. Let it settle, let it rest and watch it grow.

This is what I did and this afternoon I wrote the chapter that developed whilst at my mum's house. It is a good one, I like it very much.

As I was about to finish the song that appeared to fill the room was 'I will see you in all the old familiar places.' I couldn't have chosen a better accompaniment to my thoughts. And I know my Mum would have loved it too. This PhD is for her now.

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