I think part of being a writer… or part of being a writer for me, is seeing things which aren’t there. I don’t mean I have a sensitivity to another world, or see fairies, sprites, angels or ghosts, I have never seen any of them however much I wanted to as a child! What I mean is I see something, or maybe hear something, and construct a different reality round it.
I see a woman on a train, she’s frowning, her eyebrows down, line across her forehead, and angry set of her features as she looks at something in her hands… is she reading a letter from her lawyers about the progress of her divorce and the proposed settlement? Has she fallen out with her brother over whether their mother needs to go into a care home? Is she supporting someone at an industrial tribunal over an unfair dismissal? No… she’s wrestling with a tricky crossword… but I’ve seen something and my mind builds a story.
I’m on the same train and we pull into a station. As we pull out a man is absolutely belting down the platform – just missed the train? Or has he spotted his long last father about to cross the bridge over to the other side? Has someone picked his pocket and he’s in hot pursuit? Is he late for the bus which is about to leave from the coach station on the other side of the station? Who knows? But I begin to imagine why he might be running so desperately, shoving people out of the way!
The train passes an old run-down property, still lived in; it’s an expensive area and always has been, the house is not been divided into flats or bedsits… who lives there? I begin to ponder…
I get off the train and set off walking. I notice a single glove and a single shoe carefully (it seems) placed at the foot of a tree beside a busy road. Did some kind person pick them up where they had been dropped and put them neatly to one side so they are noticeable but unlikely to be accidentally kicked into the road or trodden on.? Do they represent some superstitious significance – and is it to do with the tree, or maybe there’s a hidden grave or ancient shrine?
The other day as we parked at the supermarket car park just by a wooden fence… I noticed a bear cub looking at me… can you see him in my featured pic?