Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Life’s Little Inspirations: by June Gadsby

There’s no getting away from it. As we get older we slow down, physically if not mentally. It’s worse when one has had a long dry period, whatever that is due to. Writing has been put on hold while you struggle with other more important life events. The ideas keep coming, pouring into your brain like the glistening veils of a waterfall in full flood. You take copious notes and hope you will have sufficient years in which to turn them into novels, though you know that there are far too many storylines, even if you live to be a hundred and are still capable of sitting at a laptop with your fingers flying over the keys – hopefully writing stuff that makes sense.

Then there are the important ‘obligations’ – the stories you said [not promised – I don’t do ‘promise’] you would write for people who you had loved and admired and who would like their stories to be known. I have two of them. A surprise request from a fellow-writer and good friend of some thirty years, who sent me a beautiful short love story he had written and asked me to write it up as a novel. He wasn’t normally a fiction writer – wrote articles on naval subjects and historic places. He had been a marine during the war, serving his time in a submarine. The story was about a marine falling in love with a young woman while serving abroad. The couple lost touch when the war came to an end and he married someone else, but he never forgot his one great love. Then one day, attending a wedding, he recognised her across the church aisle…

Another wartime story I was told and asked to write came from an old French lady whose cousin had been a prisoner of war and escaped. He married and spent many years caring for his mentally sick wife. When she eventually died, he moved away from the family down to the south-west of France and asked his cousin, my friend, to visit him with his sister. Until then my friend had only memories of him as something of a mother’s boy. The visit was a happy success and the cousins fell in love, much to the horror of the family back in Normandy and a cold war was then declared between them….

These two stories have been at the top of my inspiration list for years, and I hope to write them up one day, but I have so many of my own inspired stories that are difficult to ignore. And it’s very often the new storylines that get written. It’s too easy to push the old storylines to the back of the filing cabinet in your brain and go with the flow of new material which is fresh and exciting. Now, I’m working on the edits of an old unpublished saga and hoping, soon, to get back to the thriller I had started before joining BWL. I’m trying to ignore the inspiration elves that are working overtime in my head, doing their best to distract me with new ideas that will take me sideways rather than onward. I can tell you, it’s not easy. Gone are the days when I could write creatively for 10 – 12 hours 7/7. My writing time now is a couple or three hours in the afternoon, but even in that short time I can get a lot done – if I don’t get distracted by my elderly husband and my even more elderly Yorkshire Terrier and her much younger brother who is missing his walks since I fractured my spine a few months ago.

I hope I will never lose my inspiration, my enthusiasm and my love of writing. It has seen me through so many dark passages in my life, allowing me to lose myself and my problems in the pages of my novels and the characters I create like true friends. And going back to those dark passages in my life – now there’s a story that my friends who know me well enough tell me that it’s so incredible nobody would believe it to be true. I’ve made a start on it, so maybe one day…one never knows.