Friday, 14 June 2013

Badgers and Swans

This week it’s all about links. To be honest, when I woke up this morning I was in a bit of a panic. What on earth would I write about this week? Mind totally blank. Coffee helped to dispel the sheer blind terror but did little to provide a theme, a subject, anything!

The Marcia said something about a member of the family. Nothing of any real consequence, just the idle comments that most couples throw to and fro - the small change of conversation , the contact calls that hold everything together rather like the delightful chattering you get with a flock of long-tailed tits. Out of that comment, and I now have idea what it was, came that thought. Links - I shall talk about links.

From the writer's point of view, thoughts and ideas: plots and characters if the writer is a novelist, bullet points in other cases - these come somewhat out of the blue, hanging there invitingly, asking to be given due consideration and to be remembered come what may. That last is so important. It may well that this 'thing' will have nothing to do with the book or article or blog on which the writer is working. In such a case it can, usually does, cause distraction and muddle but it is there for a reason. It might not be for the next book/article/blog nor even the one that follows that but these are the nuggets of gold that will become the building bricks from which the final work is built.

It is the links that turn these nuggets into stories - and even the most mundane of non-fiction writing should tell a story and tell it in a way that holds the reader's attention to the bitter end. Suddenly it becomes clear that there is a link: to use Marcia's The Sea Garden to illustrate the point, a link between Kate and Joss. At this stage there will be no idea what that link is: only much later will another piece of information be revealed and we learn that Joss has won an award endowed by Kate's late husband.

Sometimes one of these nuggets is in storage for a number of years. The vision of a journalist living in a converted coastguard cottage waited in the wings for many years before Marcia realised that there was a link here with the Chadwicks and, especially, with Jocelyn. Meanwhile, Cordelia (for it was she in The Prodigal Wife) had to be kept firmly at bay until it was time for her to step forward.

I suspect that some of you are wondering why we have the badgers and the swans. Well, the link is that these photographs were sent to us by readers - the swans by Helen in Portsmouth and the badgers by Susan in Kent. Many thanks to you both for sharing them with us.

Now for a terrible confession: I have lost the notebook in which I have recorded the names of the blog dogs. Marcia and I were having a cup of tea in the community shop-cum-cafe in Holne on Dartmoor when we came across this most delightful person but I cannot give you a name. So, if you know this week's blog dog, please post a comment here to put right this terrible wrong.

I should add that they do serve some really superb home made cake  - so keep well away if you are on a diet.