Hello out there,
My best wishes to everyone around the world in various stages of lockdown. Thinking of you, and of those trying to get us through this time.
Life has changed so suddenly and so fast, that it’s hard to figure out exactly what is going on. Rather than pin all my hours on trying to understand, I thought I’d put up another blog or two in case anyone is in need of distraction.
I’m writing from central London, where we are in lockdown. Around us the city seems to have gone to sleep. The pavements are empty … apart from the odd speck of a person en route to buy essentials, or out for a little exercise. Sometimes it’s us out there too, and that’s a strange feeling.
All walks have turned into a kind of dance – a stiff upper lip with a nervous twitch, and a two metre dodge. Some people are in masks and gloves, others are not … so far it’s all very courteous and careful. Hardly anybody on the dance floor in this part of the city but it feels very like everybody is watching.
There are more police out and about, and more of their cars on the street corners. Pubs are closed, buses deserted, and the tall glass buildings filled with empty desks. All food outlets are shut and their cooking smells gone, and the laughter from school playgrounds has vanished.
Such a change … and now the emptiness is filled with what we never used to notice. The shadows are bolder, the birds louder, and everywhere pigeons are pairing up and purring. Big trees wait for their leaves, little trees fluff out their blossom, and the air feels cleaner – scented green and soft.
Life has turned outside in … which brings me to part two of this piece – an idea.
The blog has been quiet for the past few months, while I’ve concentrated on trying to write a book. I have had help – two courses with the excellent CitiLit in London. The first course ‘Starting your Novel‘ is done; and the second course ‘Developing your Novel‘ is also complete. Now all courses are on hold, but I am part of an online writing group that meets each week to do some free writing. We spend about two hours together with several twenty minutes bursts of writing all based around a single word or idea given to us by our leader, Saraswathi Sukumar, who is a fellow writer.
The idea, I suppose, is a bit like taking your imagination out for a stretch. What you write doesn’t have to be perfect, or just how you would like it, but the process should allow the mind to roam free, signposted by a single word or suggestion. As I seem to think in a story world right now my pieces tend to be more about character and less about description. None of my free writing is perfect, nor expected to be, which means the pieces should be quicker to post, and hopefully not distract me too much from writing this elusive book.
Anyway, I enjoy it. It’s mind consuming and mindless at the same time … and quite fun if you like this sort of thing. The process can take a little getting used to, and even then sometimes the ideas will flow and sometimes they won’t. The best part is that, if done for the fun, it doesn’t matter, and if done for writing prompts, it could even be useful.
So my proposal, and I have the group’s permission for this, is to give you the ideas/words we were given so that you can take each one, set your timers for twenty minutes, and head off into the great unknown.
Then, I’ll put up another blog with my efforts on the posted topics. They’re really just jottings I suppose – word doodles.
Here are the topics we were given this past week: 1) shadow (five minutes to warm up) 2) description of a person addicted to fire (twenty minutes – I drifted a bit with this one) 3) hunger (twenty minutes – I’d had to leave the group before this).
So that’s it. If you have the time to let me know what you think I’d love to hear from you.
Meanwhile, wherever you are, I hope it’s possible to stay safe, stay home, and to mind that gap.
All the best
Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2020