A case of mistaken identity. That was our prompt at the Weymouth Writing Matters group and I was wondering what sort of a tale I might make of it as I strolled across the Ferry Bridge and along the harbour edge on my way to visit the café on the beach. Mistaken identities, of course, happen all the time in life, and as I walked I saw a pebble on the strand line suddenly sprout little orange legs and run off. As I watched, a dozen more pebbles sprouted identical legs and trotted after it. Not pebbles, of course – turnstones.

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There was a whole flock of these little wading birds minding their own business feeding along the beach, turning pebbles as the name suggests. Nature does love to deceive the eye, of course. But it did set me thinking.

How much do we miss when we look at things? How often do we see what we expect to see, rather than what is actually there? How many of the things we look at are in fact mistaken identities? This line of thought gave me a cracking idea, and by the time I reached the café, I had solved a critical problem in the plot of my new book. A mistaken identity, where people see just what they expect to see, but not what is actually there, is just what I needed. I arrived at the café and began to sketch out the amended plot straight away. The turnstones had given me another idea, too – but I’ll keep that to myself for the time being.

Even such a simple thing as a pebble on a beach is not necessarily what it seems. Especially when it gets up on little legs and runs away.

 

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