• Wycoller Scarecrow

If you go down in the woods today ...

When I was at Minsthorpe College a couple of days ago, the students wanted to know how I got the ideas for my writing. I mentioned Molly's nose (the subject of a previous blog), the commission from Clive Farrell for Leafcutter and the great advantage in my last house of having an audience of two young children next door. I also touched upon the image of the pharaoh in the plaster on my bedroom wall!

All of these things seemed plausible, I think, but the students were quite startled to discover that I often wake up with stories in my head, waiting to be written. Mysteriously, as with the latest idea of a penguin knocking at my door and stopping for a cup of tea, the story is entirely unrelated to anything in my life. I don't know how it happens but I never want it to stop.

As I was mulling this over about an hour ago, I realised how important it was for me to have images in waiting. Again, as I write, I find that quite curious recollections/photographs/etc. will attach themselves to my words as though they belong to them and if that doesn't happen, I just stop writing for a while.

A few days ago, I caught the morning light of the first picture which turned the river outside my house to gold; I went for a walk and, passing by the fairy doors which have been inserted into the Wycoller trees by Edith the Mouse, discovered the perfect set of … mushrooms/toadstools; and finally, emerging from the woods into the local park, I caught this magic pathway to the island in the middle of the little lake.

They will pass from memory but surface when their time comes.

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