Gathering Plotlines for the writer on the train, or finding inspiration in the strangest of places.

I am transported back to a train or tube journey, I cannot recall which of the two that it was, but I was in a carriage several years ago. As I travelled across London, a young lady sat across the carriage from me wildly writing on post it notes throughout her journey. Peeling them off and sticking them to her knee as she went.
At the time, it struck me as odd. I was not the only one who wondered what she might be doing, what she was trying so hard to remember. Her brow furrowed as she did so. The pen clearly not writing quite as fast as she was thinking.

What odd behaviour, I thought, like many others around us within the carriage. I wondered if she was alright, her demeanour frantic. Now as I am transported back to this image and memory, I have a better understanding of how when writing, a flash of inspiration can strike at the most inopportune moment, you grab the nearest thing and begin to write, the urge taking hold of you completely. Words tumbling across the page, if you are lucky enough to have a page in front of you at the time, but arriving even faster than it is possible to write them down. At the end of her journey, she collected them all up and shoved them into her bag as she alighted at her station, her eyes darting from side to side as she left.

Thinking back, I hoped that she was a writer. That whatever temporary madness was caused by the stream of thoughts would be outweighed by her talent. That her words and thoughts were wonderful and would be read by many and appreciated. I silently wished her all the best in her endeavours.

We all have our places for inspiration, I have always been a bit of a people watcher, I also have a fairly good memory for people. I don’t usually forget a name and I can recall people and moments in time from many years ago. This is at times both a blessing and a hindrance, but for writing it gives me a plethora of people at my disposal which will form characters in stories, just as they have done in my life. I spend a lot of time up on the hill, which I enjoy writing about, whenever I am searching for solitude, or rest and need to replenish my soul it is my sanctuary, but alas it is not where I spend all of my time. I also live elsewhere, closer to my family and the places I grew up. I have thought about moving from this place on several occasions in the past few years, but have always stayed relatively close, choosing not to sever the ties here.

It occurred to me today that I have the perfect window on the world here for my writing so why would I wish to move… I am perfectly situated on a busy road, which overlooks a school playing field. When the children are not there, it is a green space with rabbits running wild and leads to allotments, where people come and go at all times of the day and night. It is a busy corner of the street, heading towards a nursery, where children are dropped and collected and their play is heard all day. There is also a primary and secondary school. The parents park outside the house and walk their children in, gathering outside to meet their friends, talk, smoke or just walk past. There is also a cycle path, where people jog on a Tuesday night and it is not the best time to walk a lively dog. The scouts meet over the road, the meeting place of an almost secret society, which I have never been privy to. There is a leisure centre down the road, and shops nearby, with enough characters to fill a multitude of books and that is without the ones that I have actually met over the years.

I also have considered that I may have too many pairs of pyjamas in my cupboard. As I put away the washing earlier, I noticed them just sitting in the cupboard all clean and folded in a multitude of colours, ready to sit around in all day, whilst I write my bestseller. More than a different pair for every day of the week is probably just greedy, I have amassed them over the years, not knowing that it was in readiness for such a time as this, when I am sitting up writing at 3am again and feel the need to change into fresh ones when I am finished and ready to sleep. I don’t have the heart to throw any of them away, strangely the different colours can offer inspiration and tone to my writing, dependent on which ones I am wearing. Red can be racy, Sky Blue can be dreamy, Lemon can remind me of Spring, Lavender of France and Black can be just plain dark or sultry. Hmm, Is that more than slightly mad and I wonder, can a girl have too many pairs? Surely they are like shoes aren’t they, a girl can never have too many pairs…

The Girls from the Beach

Surrounded by beautiful countryside,
That’s where he took her off to hide.
It took so many years to see,
The friend who’d left Leigh-on-Sea.
Through our teens, we’d grown together,
A storm to fight almost any weather.
But like a cloud she drifted away,
In my heart a place, she’d stay.
Years went by and a message I’d send.
To the girl, who’d been such a dear friend.
Would time have changed her beyond reach?
From one of the girls who sat on the beach.
Had habits wrecked the person I know?
If she was hurting, would it now show?
But we got in touch and to my relief,
The girl I knew was still underneath.
Scratch the surface and you will see,
A part of the person she’d wanted to be.
A passion for travel was her desire,
She’d at last got away from that terrible liar.
Who’d built around her a wall you could shove,
Now thankfully found a man she could love.
They now have a wonderful family
Of beautiful children, I’m dying to see.
So into the car a visit was planned,
Will we stop by the beach, put our toes in the sand?
Should we sit for a time and dwell on the past,
Let’s sit in the park as time’s gone so fast.
A picnic with her and three of her brood.
Couldn’t give them a lift and didn’t want to be rude,
But couldn’t fit them all in the car in the back,
The years have been kind and she’s on the right track.
Stayed there for hours as though no time had passed,
Would she still be my friend? I’d know at last.
In conversation, you’d see that she’s changed,
The same girl you knew but just rearranged.
Is it her past? or just motherhood,
Quietly reserved, are things for the good?
You see that under it she’s fragile,
But what else hides behind her smile?
Was once like your sister, will be so again.
Wonder if she’s managed a refrain,
From the sad life that she’d come to know,
Before way back when she’d decided to go.
Imagine my true happiness,
When she gave me her address.
An invite for her family to see,
A shade of the girl she used to be.
This is the girl who would go with the flow,
Who is lots of fun and a pleasure to know.
She’s gone shy and quiet, doesn’t talk on the phone.
Off with her kiddies for hours she’ll roam.
Exploring the places they’re eager to find,
Space for some thinking or there to remind.
Up and down trees or charging about
“Where are you Mum?” “Over Here!” she’ll shout.
Hide and seek up hill and down dale,
A photo of them sitting on a hay bale.
A great imagination, a thirst to excite,
A great bunch of kids, they’ve brought them up right.
Over the time her children have grown
But a wonderful family they have shown,
That they stay together through thick and thin.
Way back then, he was determined to win.
Not prepared to give up at all cost,
Do not dwell on the time that we lost.
So glad that she settled and turned things around.
Glad that finally my friend has been found.

The Daily Post – The Girls from the Beach