In line with many of the writers' theories I have read, I now get into a state of planning. Gone are the days when I was able to write from the off, and just take my work anywhere, with only a brief guesstimate of where it'll all end.
So it was in Rome, while my wife badgered me to get on and write something. She was so enthused with having completed her finals back in May and actually getting out to Rome to see and touch the things she'd been studying - real history, mind you. These things are at least 2000 years old. Can any of us comprehend that?
So, she gets into this sharing mode, wanting to make sure that I'm not only included but that my inspiration is sparked by what we're seeing - it's nice to have a partner who wants you to succeed in your dreams - but then, of course, she's always saying: "Are you inspired yet?" as if we're on a drive to some destination and I need to be ready by the time we get there!
But, I did get my game on. And here is the spark of my idea that I then toyed with for a day (yes, just a day, the Bridport closed in a week and in our downtime in the hotel I had only pen and paper for extra-curricular activities) before having a play:
What really stood out for me as we traced a path from monument to tourist attraction through the tiny piazzas and the winding streets that stretched high above, were the vast number of open corridors (albeit gated) that led in under these villas and apartments and housed many numbers of statues, busts, faux (probably) antiquities and greenery - perhaps a private founatin in a courtyard.
As we trudged in the heat, always ensuring that we didn't go for too long without a 2 litre bottle of chilled water for fear of fainting or heat exhaustion, I got to thinking about the green places - especially Rome. I'd seen some photos of Rome before, and couldn't remember seeing any of the green gardens and tree'd parks we were now wandering past, with their broad-umbrella branched stone pines and a number of indigenous plant life. I had thought Rome might be devoid of flora altogether (okay, at least a lot), but here we were with bits of verdancy all around and these separate, imprisoned collections that were barred off from the public.
What, I thought, would happen if the world's flora upped and died? As if nature had given up, climate change was too much (a true problem that is currently killing of the equatorial species). I imagined a boy who was poor and who, after this event of dying flora, still lived on the streets of Rome and only saw green life through the barred gateways. Would he appreciate them? Would he want to touch them, to share space with them? Or would he simply get on with his life and have them on the periphery, a nag in his mind but one he can't do anything about?
What then, would happen if his mother lay dying and she'd been there at the time when the end of flora had first come? Her 20 year old memories trouble her, the life she had once led, the loss, and the desolation of living without - it would be unbearable for her. But then, her son might go out of his way to surround her in flora, at whatever cost, to steal it and bring it to her - regardless of whether the stolen plants would die when out of their protective habitats (a sciency set of explanations would be required for much of the plot's construction - such as the distinction between standard flora and crop-flora, where food comes from, how there can be private collections (and why, of course)).
But this was the concept, and the first draft, which I never completed, but ran for over 5,000 words (the Bridport restricts writers to 5,000 words - I've been writing 1,500 for Litopia's competitions for so long, I was worried about having to go the distance) by the time I got it to a place in my own head to be able to start typing it up and considering my stand point (more on this in a later post).