I had an idea the other day. You see, I started the blog around 18 months ago with the idea of writing every day for a year, because every time I heard anyone talk about writing it basically boiled down to this: do it. Don’t talk about doing it, don’t wonder what your life would be like if you were doing it, do it. Of all the artistic pursuits, writing is probably the cheapest, because all you really need is a pen and paper. That fact that I am using an iPad and internet connection is just icing on the cake.
So I began, and without really intending to I started to generate fiction. The bulk of the writing, though is diary-form, because it is easy enough to bash out 500 words based on something that happened during my day and I am quite lazy.
I have continued to listen to people talk about creativity and a few weeks ago I came across the loopy idea of morning pages, developed by an artist, who seems to be just lovely. These morning pages have since made me late for work nearly every day and I have enjoyed no increase in fictional output as a result. Rather, my diary-like rambling has more than doubled and yesterday more time has been clipped from the outer edges of my working day to service this extra requirement.
The thing is, I am not sure if morning pages are having the intended effect, becuse I am not sure what the effect is supposed to be, a bit like yoga. But the other thing is, unlike yoga, I really enjoy doing them. I pick up my pen and just go BLEEHHHHH onto three pages and the morning is silent and the practice of writing by hand feels good.
So I thought I would try an experiment this morning and use my morning pages to write fiction. I have several ideas for short stories jotted down, but they are just elements of a story, I don’t have the endings and that is what has been putting me off writing them. But the answer will not come to be by leaving the notes in draft, will it? So this morning I wrote three pages of a short story and halfway through I got the ending and also the main point of the story, which I had imagined had been about one thing, but is actually about another. I am going to see if I can finish it this weekend and post it online.
Quite often when I am on a walk with the dogs, I get ideas and this afternoon I took Lucy and Archie for a long walk. It is not that exciting, for me at least, but it is around a 5 km circuit of the streets and takes us through two parks so they like it. When we arrived at the first park, the football game had finished and a load of dog walkers were out. As we headed down the slope from the street I could see the huge form of Dyson, a massive St. Bernard dog, who is now fully grown but still too young to realise he is the size of a horse. Archie, of course hates him.
Archie started to bark and lunge towards him but I pulled him away and walked off in the opposite direction. We headed around the park and down the road and through to the second park, nearer to home. It was in this small park that Archie first met his foe as the owner rents a property just opposite which he uses as an office.
Archie was pretty tuckered out by this stage but Lucy was still bouncing around. I sat on a bench for a while and chatted with one of the other walkers while Lucy played. Then I felt Archie go stiff and assumed he wanted to get down and play too. It turned out that he did want to get down, but it was so that he could conduct a preliminary investigation into a newcomer.
I walked towards the man who had recently arrived and was surprised to see it was Dyson’s owner, but he was not with Dyson. In his arms was what looked like an enormous hamster. It was a hamster the size of a toddler. It was a St Bernard puppy.
He had just got him, he was eight weeks old and he was not yet allowed to go on the grass because his vaccinations had not kicked in yet. He did not even have a name. But he did not need a name, because Archie had his number. He was sitting by the owner’s ankles and his tail was flailing wildly as he fixed his eyes on the interloper. I picked Archie up.
‘Look,’ I said, ‘a little puppy, Archie.’
I stroked the long soft fur of the bear cub’s head as it blinked in astonishment at the fuss he was attracting. A puppy is the park is like an open jar of jam at a picnic – it always attracts a swarm.
I let Archie sniff my hand to pick up the puppy’s scent. Perhaps with the puppy so young, perhaps if he could smell both me and the puppy at the same time, he would give this St. Bernard a pass.
Archie’s nose twitched. There was a fraction of a pause and then he let rip.
‘Get out of my park you freak monster dog – you don’t fool me for a minute clinging like a bear to that human tree – You clown-faced fur donkey – you leave my owner and my mates alone – Alien alert! Alien alert EVRYBODY DISPERSE WHILE I DEAL WITH THE THREAT.’ He seemed to say as he barked furiously at the blinking, sleepy puppy.
Oh well, I guess not everything works, but you gotta give these things a try every now and again.