Friday, 23 September 2011

Where To Start?

Searching for directions on Googlemaps, it makes sense to request a route that starts from the point at which you know you will flounder, rather than starting from home-base, from where you are familiar with the first few turnings. It seems to be the same with my recent stories too.

I set off with a degree of confidence. And then I find I'm steering along less familiar lanes. It is daunting, but much more thrilling. I feel slightly unsafe, yet exhilarated. And that is where the story really takes shape. That is the important moment upon which the rest will hinge.

If I then look back at the start, I find it has little relevance to the real journey. It was necessary to get me started, but it plays no role now that I'm on uncharted waters. (I may have crossed from land to sea here. Must have veered a little off course. Damn Googlemaps.)

What I might be saying here is that I am deleting my beginnings. I can't do it until I reach the end and know for sure I've arrived at the right destination. But by the time I'm getting close, I'm itching to cross it out and insert the right, true opening lines, the point where the meat is. (Actually, that might be connected with my butcher story.) That first paragraph grates away in my head and, when I finally delete it, it's like scratching the sole of an itchy foot at traffic lights when you've been desperate to do so along an entire carriageway.

The story I'm writing started originally with a journey to hospital. But instead we go to a party in a railway canteen on VE Day. The hospital became invalid once I knew where I was going. It was a convoluted trip to that party, but I'm glad I began there in the end. In the end? Ah, that's another strange journey for another time.