Friday, July 06, 2012

Significant others

Today I had the pleasure of meeting poet Angela Locke for the first time. We have corresponded about a collaboration for her creative writing course to be held here in Finistere in September but never actually spoken. It was a significant meeting, one of those special occasions when making a connection has immediate and surprising consequences. We didn't have time to do much more than than exchange compliments about our books (I have recently read her stimulating collection Whale Language: Songs of Iona) and talk of arrangments for me to give a talk and a walk (yes, I can even do both at once in an emergency) for her group when the time comes. But there was a strong current of sympathy, humour and incipient affection running across the table even on such brief acquaintance, and I left for another appointment looking forward very much to seeing how she works and contributing to the process myself.
I was driving along happily afterwards thinking of all I had to do at the weekend with another couple of ferry talks to give and Wimbledon finals to watch when - suddenly the whole beautiful entirety of the book I have been wanting to write for the last two years and never quite glimpsed full-on, crash-landed in my head. The afternoon has passed in a whirl of ostensibly functioning on a normal plane whilst idea after idea flowed out and everything I've been thinking about for so long now without form or substance presented itself in a coherent, natural sequence.
This happened to me once before. After spending an afternoon walking and chatting with sociologist Anne Guillou about things completely unrelated to any creative work, the whole story of the Five of Cups leaped out of my brain, fully armed like Athena from the head of Zeus. But that book was hell to write, so let's hope the similarity ends with the initial inspiration.
It's been a great day. Thanks, Angela.

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