I must have been 16. I remember being in some shoe shop in the Friary Centre in Guildford, absent-mindedly talking to myself, when a woman looked at me sharply. I hadn’t twigged that wandering around singing, or talking to yourself might be totally bonkers – it was just something I did.
It’s still something I do. Walking through Durham and Cardiff, and later London, I would write monologues, run through ideas, and sing (quietly). Walking lets you be anonymous, lets your mind roam around while your feet move on automatically. You’re sheltered, supported even by the people walking past, they provide walls for the little bubble you put yourself in while you let whatever’s in your head pour out (quietly).
I’ve been having real problems knuckling down and concentrating on writing my book idea out, probably because sitting down to do anything makes me think of exams, but more realistically because I have a horror of anything that doesn’t come naturally. And writing thousands upon thousands of words does not come naturally to me.
What has really helped is the walk from the bus stop to my house. It’s eerily still and utterly beautiful, and I feel safe walking through it. Switching off, then switching on my iPhone to record an idea has meant that I’ve kept the ideas that disappear as soon as I walk through the door. I’ve put last week’s story up top, but if you’d rather read it, the text is after the jump.