“Water,” said my friend, Peter. “If it concerns water, you’ll write about it.”
The subject at the Off the Cuff writing group that day was ‘flooded fields’, and I had jumped straight in, so to speak. Peter’s quite right, of course; water, be it sea, river, stream or spring, features heavily in my books and in much of my shorter fiction, too. I could rhapsodise about a puddle.
This is probably because I was brought up by the sea and spent many happy hours messing about in boats on the river. And after many years high and dry inland, I found my way back to the sea; it’s my daily companion, soul-mate and confidante. It’s no surprise to me that I feel so compelled to write about it. It’s also no surprise that one of the characters in my work-in-progress is a river. Although the setting is largely fictional, when I write about my river I have a real one in mind. I find it’s both the easiest and the hardest subject to write about: my standards become very high indeed when I write about water.
And so it’s particularly fitting that my regular walk to the café-on-the-beach takes me over a bridge. The Ferry Bridge spans the outlet of the Fleet Lagoon as it meets Portland Harbour. The water, flowing up or down with the tide is fast-moving, turbulent and capable of being all shades from pale aquamarine to dark steel blue. I love it, and pause half-way across the bridge to look down into its depths in all but the worst weather. Just watching the water for a few moments will help to order my thoughts and decide what to write next. It’s calming, therapeutic and inspirational; it knows just where it’s going. And when I walk on, so do I.
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