Day 78 of #100daysofwriting and I am writing in the local band club as a party rages on next door. The positive nature of technology is that someone typing into their phone doesn’t attract as much attention as a notebook does. No stupid questions of, ‘What you doing and why?’ Writers seems to attract people who want to tell then their story, sadly all professions do. Meet a plumber and you tell them about plumbing disasters. Get in a taxi, you ask them if they’ve been busy. We are all natural storytellers if we get on the right subject. Tonight though, the tone next door is light and happy. Little do people know that I am in a derelict barn on Bodmin Moor and the story is decidedly dark. I focus on the story and ignore the laughter, laughter will be death to what is happening in the barn.
Day 79 of #100daysofwriting and my voice in the flood story is getting more and more like a middle England denier, he keeps marking off the flood line (like measuring a child) but at each rise of the water he merely reasserts the pen must have been washed away and remarks the line at 4.5cm. Even when he turns to using a knife, he blames his wife, the council or his handyman for tidying up his mess. His mind cannot take the concept, and as his house floods and his neighbours, the Miahs, depart for my Bodmin Moor story, the willow pattern comes out as a topic about his love of such antiques. These images are starting to link all my stories at the moment, I know at some point I will actually have to grab a willow pattern plate and write that story.
Day 80 of #100daysofwriting and I am back in Bodmin Moor with a willow pattern and tales of old department stores, and crumbling old magazines with relationship advice for my poor protagonist. It’s all coming to a head and the Miahs that fled the flood waters of the home counties in my other story, have come to an inevitable end in the west country. Cholera has taken hold and soon the protagonistand his Grandfather, whose farm it was will be the only voices on the Moor. The lad in the story is amused by one of my own life stories, for I am the writer of the advice column read decades after I am gone, in which I tell the story of a bad teenage date where I took a woman I liked to watch Schindler’s List, and though I knew the topic, read the book, I still thought it was a good first date. As the film rolled I realised, though I have Jewish ancestry, that the Holocaust is not a good a first date and now this poor lad in the west country can’t make head or tale about what I am going on about, death to him is everywhere, is every day and I begin to realise this is what Holocaust survivors have told me, death became the norm and it will become the norm for all of our descendants one day. I am struck by something an Asian comedian said about the death toll on India’s roads, something like a 164 deaths a day, his reply was succinct, who notices in a country with over a billion people. I am wondering if death can be so easily brushed aside due to high populations when we will reach that moment and say, it was only a few thousand, million, billion people, there’s still plenty to go round.
Day 81 of #100daysofwriting and my Bodmin Moor story ends with the boy leaving and he looks at the house in the distance and wonders whether he is leaving or the house is sailing away, both of them falling off the edge of the world. I wonder what it would have been like for plague victims or cholera areas where you could end up being the last person alive among the dead. I wonder whether it wouldsend you running, that the dead haunt your dreams, that no matter where he goes, he carries the dead with him. It strikes me again, the analogy of the Holocaust, and how so many afterwards, decades later committed suicide because they had simply survived and the weight of it was too much for them. I wonder about displaced people and how this occurs too, when land and identity are taken away until they all fall off the edge of the world. Tonight, I have the first draft, and discover I still like writing in fragments, piecing them together and that if I don’t sit down and write once a day I get itchy and flustered, and annoyed.
Day 82 of #100daysofwriting and between looking for PhD funding opportunities, I find myself back in suburbia, and in the stiff mind of my home counties protagonist. The water is lapping beneath his bedroom window but he doesn’t see it anymore, he just sees that the sign is gone. The dreaded road liable to flooding sign that he thinks is out of place in his cul de sac. The water to him becomes nothing more than an endless roadway which will lead him to a wife who has left him. I am struck by how this narrow mind produces narrow lines, narrow prose, which is short compared to the Bodmin Moor story. It is the character leaking into the prose.