Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Power, or Lack Of.

Last night we had a power cut.

I was quite surprised. Power cuts aren’t all that common. I can’t remember the last time I experienced a power cut. In an odd way, I’ve always liked power cuts. Especially when I was younger. It meant we got takeaway food or something different as we only had a gas hob (my first ever stir fry was eaten during a power cut!) and it meant I could read by candle light as there wasn’t much else to do. And I loved to read. (Still do.) If it was winter, the lack of power meant being able to huddle up in warm clothes and blankets and it just felt exciting.

That feeling has never really left me. I still get a little excited when there’s a power cut. I admit, my first thought was “what am I meant to do in the dark?” but I have candles here, so I lit them. However, these days I have a netbook with an 8-10 hour battery life that was fully charged last night so as much as I could sit here and read, I’m chosing to sit here and write instead.

There’s something almost romantic about a power cut at night, I find. It’s dark and cosy and there’s flickering candles instead of electric lights. Everything seems softer and somehow warmer (despite the heating being off). In the modern age, I feel it also sparks creativity and even community. Without power, you can’t cook in the electric oven whilst watching TV. You either work out how to cook something (I am shortly going to be making hot chocolate on our gas stove), or you go out. If you go out, you may run into your neighbours in the local pub who have also gone to escape the lack of power and end up having a pleasant social night out that was entirely unplanned but thoroughly enjoyed.

And if you do stay in, then as I did when I was younger, you have the perfect excuse to catch up on that book you’ve been neglecting (as I typed that my thought instantly fled to House of Leaves which I’d been avoiding finishing for over a year as it freaked me out – obviously a power cut is the best time to finish such a story!), or you can write a letter, or write a story, or play board games if you don’t live alone. Be creative! If this was November, I’d’ve been delving into making use of the non-Internet time. However, as it’s not, I felt more like I could do little fun things such as reading a horror story by candlelight. Why not? After all, we often neglect such odd little pleasures, so when the opportunity comes to embrace them, embrace them we should! Some people may choose to sleep in the dark, I chosing to lie on the floor with my dressing gown over me, a cup of steaming hot chocolate at my side, a candle in front, and a book which prevented me from sleeping the last time I read it excessively. I know everyone’s different, but my choice sounds a lot more fun than sleeping. Unexpected night can be creepy. So, I am going to be creeped!

Enjoy your weekend, folks!

The Sweet Dreams of Others

My boyfriend has a tendency to talk in his sleep, or “wake up” and have a conversation before going back to sleep. In the middle of the night if he wakes me up, this can be a weird and confusing experience, but if I’m awake and he’s asleep, it can be highly entertaining. I hadn’t thought about it before, but there are some golden story ideas or starting lines in what he says.

For example, a few weeks ago we had a conversation at four in the morning about downloading being like the last day of school and having to empty your locker. He never did manage to explain what he meant but he was certain at the time that it made sense. Prior to that he told me that someone was a lionface. I’m not sure if he meant a person with a face with lion-like qualities or a person with an actual lion face. Intriguing either way. Last week he fell asleep in the evening so I was writing when I disturbed him and he ‘woke up’ and this was our conversation. (I am geniusly named ‘S’ in this conversation):

D: “Where’s your purple jumper?”

S: “I don’t have a purple jumper.”

D: “Your purple trainer, did you take it off?”

S: “I wasn’t…”

D: “What? What? What are you saying?”

S: “I’m answering your question.”

D: “Did you open the package at work? Did I?

S: “Yeah, you did.”

D: “Did I? Did I open all of them?”

S: “Yes.”

D: “Oh. I need to buy a museum.”

I was amused for a good fifteen minutes about the last line. There’s a whole fountain of potential little stories buried in that one sleepy conversation. I wrote a short story last week which was a morbid, very pointless tale of someone being chased through corridors by hounds (I haven’t written short stories in years so I’m VERY much out of practice) but tonight’s effort is definitely going to begin with “I need to buy a museum.” Not sure where to go with it, but it’s a great opening line! I’m sure it will lead me somewhere.

It was this conversation which prompted me to write it down and keep it for future use, and make notes of other odd things he says. He’s always nagging at me to be included in my writing so here we go!

I’m not one to listen to people’s conversations on the tube or the bus or wherever. When I’m out and about, I enjoy being in my own world and walk around with music in my ears. But if you’re the type of person who enjoys listening to those snippets of conversation around you, it’s a goldmine of potential story lines, character profiles or even just awesome one lines to drop into your writing to spice up the story! I know some writers will write down conversations they overhear into notebooks and store them for future use. As I’m often out without a bag or a coat with nice big pockets, I don’t always have a notebook on me so it’s rare for me to do this, but it’s a definite worthwhile idea, don’t you think? I’m already considering just going and sitting in Hyde Park in the summer and eavesdropping whilst lazing in the sun (assuming we get sun… ahem, weather?)

I guess where I’m going with this is – you never know what gems of inspiration you may pick up on without even realising. The world is full of amazing things. Use them.

(For anyone interested, I deciphered his cryptic and random sleepy conversation. No idea where the purple jumper and trainer came from, but the packages were referring to him needing to open the postal visa applications in work, and the next morning on the way to work he announced he was able to buy a museum for his Jurassic Park game on his phone. Minds are strange and wonderful things.)

%d bloggers like this: