Saturday, March 7, 2009
I have been stricken recently with a virus. This involves laying around on sofas feeling sorry for myself and watching TV until my brain started to trickle out of my ears. In these situations one's mind drifts and, maybe it was the fever, mine drifted in a strange direction. I had this vision of an alternative London that captivated me. I soon had two characters, children, a brother and sister existing on the fringes of society scraping an existence as mudlarks - Thames slumdogs if you like. There really were mudlarks, scouring the Thames mud at low tide. I considered where poverty and desperation might drive them and the possible consequences of their actions. That gave me a plot.
I have not written a word of this short story yet, I am deep into a novel and other commitments, but I will write it. Short stories are uncommercial these days; I suppose TV programmes have replaced them. I will probably never be able to sell it so why bother to go to all the effort to write. The answer is because I need to tell stories. I can't help myself. Anything I can sell is a bonus but money is not my prime motivation. If you want to make money then get a job. If you wan't to write then write.
This short story going around in my head draws on London's past - again. In England, history sits under the modern world like the submerged part of an iceberg. Spring is now well under way in England. The days are lengthening fast and new life shoots up around ancient buildings. Enclosed are a couple of photos I took last week. They show students playing frisbee on the lawns of Royal Holloway College, London university and the gardens at Chilham Castle.
Hope you like them.