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Always writing

Having just read my previous blog back with a few hours gap reminded me how my mind never switches off when it comes to writing. When I learnt my dad was having breathing difficulties ten minutes before he died I did wonder how I would cover his death as I was, quite literally, working on a dad in hospital scene when my sister called me. And when I dashed up to Manchester to see my Dad, when he was first taken into hospital, and he's lying surrounded by machines and tubes, and he has this mask on his face that, because it had a long tube connecting it, made me think of an elephant's trunk, I also thought what a good scene it would make. I am not ruthless, well, most of the time I'm not, and if I was I would certainly have more money to show for it; but most of the time I am looking and listening, the greatests avenues to greater characterisations. Maybe it is a ruthlessness - albeit a creative one, which sounds more noble than the salesperson always looking to sell you something at a party, or the gambler always looking for an insider's tip.
Yet is it not the same?
Yet it could be said that creativity is something, a force, that dictates its own path, has its own will - who else would nag you in the middle of the night, urging you with a voice that says 'you'd better take a note of that, it may never come back!' and so, you push back the top half of the duvet, scrabble round for a pen and pad, and scribble a few words, or a few symbols of shorthand, that, you hope, will suffice as shorthand for the Great Big Idea. And, the voice stilled somewhat, you try and go back to sleep. But within minutes it's there again:
'you know those scribbles'll mean nothing in the morning, you'd best do a fuller outline - if anything's worth doing, it's worth doing properly, not sloppily'.
And you think, 'No! It's fine, I'll know what it means'. And so the struggle begins, quietened only when you push back the duvet, make a cup of tea, and add more flesh to the bones of creativity's latest offering. For, when one connects to that voice it is a hard taskmaster, and it doesn't care if that's your dad with an oxygen mask over his face - all it sees is a black joke about the elephant man - maybe because it's the only route into authentic sadness.

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-Dedicated with love and respect to Dr Bruce Lloyd-

And in memory of my parents:
Thomas Valentine and Joan Theresa
Good people who taught me so much more than they realised


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