Friday, 17 January 2014

The last line of the book

The other day, Marcia said to me, ‘I know the last line of the book.’

‘Oh, when did that happen? Just now?’

‘No,’ she shook her head. ‘A few days ago but I wasn’t sure I had it exactly right until just now.’

‘So you know how it ends?’

‘I think so but I still don’t know how they all get there.’

You will remember from last week that she is about half way through the writing part of this novel. The question that springs to mind is: ‘Just how does this work?’

That is something I have brooded on in the past and never found a sensible answer but today I think I can see how it does work. Perhaps, anyway. Let’s see whether this makes any sense.

You are standing on the top of a hill. The view is incredible: directly in front of you the is a deep valley, in many parts it is wooded but there are a number of areas where there is open pasture in which animals graze and other fields where wheat and other crops are growing. You can be sure that down there, hidden from your view, there is a river running through the valley and looking across at the other side you suspect a number of smaller streams running down the sides of the hills to join it. 

Then there is the hill top opposite. It is a fair distance away but by peering through your binoculars you can see it is a smoothly rounded feature and a small cairn of stones has been built up there to mark the summit.

That summit is your destination. Looking down again you decide on the route you are going to follow but, of course, apart from the first few hundred yards, you are really guessing as you have no idea what you will find on the way . . .

. . . what diversions will be forced upon you, what fascinating distractions will draw you from the direct path, what obstacles you will find that hinder your progress. Above all, for how long will the present state of excitement at the prospect of the journey and the arrival at that cairn last. As all explorers know, there will be times when you really wonder why you are putting yourself through so much pain and suffering but there will be others when the heart sings and you would be in no other place.

So it is that Marcia knows the beginning and she can see her destination in the distance. It’s the bits in between that are going to provide the challenges.

This is without a shadow of a doubt the largest Pekingese I have ever seen. He is, as his name implies, huge. That name? Well, Maxmegapod, obviously. However, I am told that when he is feeling kindly he will answer to Max.