Friday, October 20, 2006

Walking it through

I walk the dachshund every day, for about an hour. I used to walk the dachshund and the DevilDog, and before that, I used to walk the dachshund, the DevilDog and the nervous little dog. But one by one they get old and crap and decide it's easier to stay at home.

To be fair, the DevilDog would like to come for a walk, but his arthritis is so bad now it hurts me just to watch him. Short pottering around the garden and out into Cae Newydd is more than enough for him. The nervous little dog's suffering from Alzheimer's and can't even remember what food is. Taking him for walks is too frustrating, and he's happier sleeping all day anyway.

So it's just me and the dachshund, pootling our way up into the woods every day. Most days I don't see another soul, and this is fine. I like the solitude or I wouldn't live in the 'h' of nowhere. You would think it would be an ideal time to think, to plot and scheme. You would expect that I would get back from my daily walk filled with ideas for whatever story I'm working on.

The truth is, normally my mind wanders all over the place, like a Saturday night drunkard weaving his way home in the wee small hours of Sunday morning. And sometimes, like the drunkard baffled by a lamp-post in his way, it gets stuck on one thought and loops over it again and again. When I was writing Benfro book three I rarely, if ever, managed to come up with anything useful for the book during my daily dackel-aided stroll. It was almost as if the story was a beacon I had to avoid at all costs; a scab that really shouldn't be picked.

Yesterday morning I embarked on the writing of the first Inspector McLean book, which at the moment shares its title with the shorty in Spinetingler, but will probably end up being called something different. During my post-prandial perambulation, complete with canine companion, my mind worked tirelessly through several ideas peripheral to the central core of the tale, thrashing out details which I even managed to remember later. Today was similar. Having spent the morning researching something I thought might be interesting to include in the tale, I plotted it all out in my mind as I trudged up the forestry track, and decided that it was perhaps not such a good idea after all.

Perhaps it's because this book is a new departure for me, whereas Benfro was old before I even started. Or maybe I'm just getting better at thinking things through. I guess time will tell. If my walks are still productive at the end of the year, I'll let you know.


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