Posted by Leigh Russell
In some ways writers are similar to visual artists, in their close observation of details. Painters seeing a landscape might rearrange the composition in their heads, select colours for a canvas, respond to light and shade (I’m guessing here.)
As a writer even the most mundane detail transforms into words in my head – a carrier bag flapping in a gust of wind, the smell of earth beneath dry leaves – anything can be used to help set a scene somewhere in a book.
Recently I had a very different experience of noticing detail, spending a week in hospital suffering a severe bout of pneumonia. Looked after by a wonderful team of NHS staff, I was reminded how much I take for granted every day. That first cup of NHS tea when I was able to drink, the feel of dry sheets after I managed to dislodge my drip which leaked in the bed (it was the drip), the joy of eating a piece of toast!
Not much about writing here but I have been a bit off the case recently - although I did have a clear view of the hospital car park, deserted after dark. One night I watched a lone figure hurry along the walkway and couldn’t help thinking “What if…”
…a second figure leaps unexpectedly from the shadows, brandishing a knife, and the patient becomes an unwilling witness, three floors up. Before she can move or cry out the victim staggers and falls, the assailant vanishes into the darkness… The patient presses her buzzer and watches as the victim bleeds to death far below in the deserted car park…
Ionesco wrote that "A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing." Seems we can't stop writing or thinking about writing!