Friday, 4 October 2013

Never Throw Anything Away

Picture Credit - Don Hankin

Well, I’ve done it,  finally sent off an entry to a competition:  a Flash500 piece. I’ve been working on about three or four pieces this month without any great enthusiasm for any of them especially when my chief critic, him indoors, and ancillary critics, my two sisters, all say that they are not too keen on any of the pieces I read out. “Oh, that doesn’t sound like you at all,” is the general chorus that greets my efforts. “We like your funny pieces best.” Well, news flash, so do I but I only write what comes into my head, and obviously, what’s inside there at the moment is not tuned into the right  wave length. In fact, him indoors is sufficiently  moved to ask, ”What goes on in that mind of yours?” And I can honestly say,  ”I really don’t know.” The reiki master who works her magic once a month remarks that my third eye is blocked so maybe I’m not seeing things in the usual way, which is odd because there have been some funny moments which have definitely tickled my sense of humour and given me  ideas for non-fiction pieces.

Earlier in the month we went to see some friends who have a little dog, a Boston Terrier, all wriggling charm and wet tongue. I dissolve into laughter as they tell me tales of taking him to puppy crèche in the Bark and Ride bus, and the puppy socialisation classes on Sunday mornings, not to mention the scented poop bags and puppy wipes. Well! I think, here is the substance for an article about the modern young couple and their pet. But wouldn’t you know it? I open one of the Sunday supplements and there is the self same article I’d thought of writing, only much better than anything that I could have come up with. 

Then I go to a surprise 60th birthday party and think I have enough ammunition for a piece on surprise parties. But yes, you’ve guessed it :  someone’s got there before me.

But I think I have learnt a couple of lessons this month. Four years ago, on one of the sisters’ Annual Away Weeks, we found ourselves on a tour of the Flodden Field, I say we, but my older sister and her husband, the Blue Badge Two,  don’t do walking, so they were left in the car whilst the other four of us trekked round with a very knowledgeable guide. This week,  I’ve been  rereading all the notes I made at the time and discover that actually, it’s possible, if your words are chosen wisely, to be both interesting and amusing even when the subject matter is the detail of an horrific medieval battle. So, first lesson, I need to work on retuning the funny button. The next thing I notice is that I have masses of material about the battle. This is the 500 Anniversary and it’s big news. So, second lesson, never throw anything away, because you never know when it might come in handy.


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