Birthday balloons and inspiration

I’m writing again.

Suddenly I’ve got that creative buzz back, and it feels fantastic. I’ve got new ideas which add flesh to the characters in my novel that will in turn steer the story in a different direction. For now, I’m concentrating on the first chapter.  Before this week I had the bare bones of a sketch, and the work I’m doing now seems to be adding colour and depth that I hope will bleed naturally into the subsequent chapters. 

I’ve been reading Stephen King’s On Writing which I think is one of the best books on the art I’ve ever come across, and I’ve read a few.  SK likens a story to finding a fossil.  It’s already there, and it’s your job to find it.  He claims you don’t know quite what shape it’s going to be until you’ve finished digging around it and can gently lift it into view.  You take the intellect out, and let the subconscious magic do the work.  Dorothea Brande had a similar idea. I just hope it’s working for me.

There’s a good reason why I should still be slumped as miserably as I have been, because it’s Juliette’s 14th birthday on Saturday.  The day, as usual in the run-up is very much on my mind.  I’m thinking about how with each year that passes she disappears from me.  I could picture at six, seven, but at fourteen..?  What would she even look like?  Be like?  I can only see her as a taller version of her five-year-old self, and I cannot for the life of me make her hair grow in my imagination. What would she want to do on her fourteenth birthday? Those of us that she left behind may take the dogs to the beach, or perhaps row a boat from Dedham with a picnic if the weather is nice enough.  What will definitely happen is the garishly decorated birthday cake, and the release fourteen pink and purple balloons with our messages to her.  We do this every year.

In the meantime, this morning, I’m wondering what would happen if Freja opens the old letter, and not Alec?

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5 thoughts on “Birthday balloons and inspiration

  1. I can't imagine Catherine growing up either. Well, I suppose, like you, I can imagine her turning 4 and 5 – lots of her friends were 5. I sort of thought that having siblings would help you imagine – but I suppose that is just my mad preconception as a mother of an only.Am really attracted and touched by your idea of turning Juliette's special days into family events. People who have commented on how to handle them, usually seem to think I should internalise my grief and hide it all away – so your approach is both refreshing and inspirational.So pleased you've found your muse – have this strange feeling I will be reading interviews with you in the Daily Telegraph magainze when you are a famous author….

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  2. I can't picture Juliette without her golden crop either – but maybe the teenage Juliette would be like you and Elodie with beautiful long glossy locks [but still golden!]. Fourteen. Oh my. So many unanswered questions.

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  3. You say about imagining Juliette's hair – at 18 months, Katie had very slow growing hair, and was still very short. It will be like that forever now – no hair grips or bunches for my baby!

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