A few nights ago something made me wonder about just what constitutes the contents of my mental back burner. Turns out it's a big old burner and no mistaking...
Some of the things sitting macerating there date back to my days at Art Colllege. I'd still love to make and film an installation of found objects on a beach; film it being built and then washed away by the tide, on a brilliant sunny day, add a soundtrack of summer beach sounds, and call it "All summer in a day". I'd still love to film the train journey from Charing Cross to the coast and synchronise it to the "Death and the Maiden" quartet. I'd still love to draw all the activitiy at a big theatre or concert hall; the spaces both empty and full, the rehearsals, the auditorium, the fly tower and storage areas and the stage in use and deserted...
There are stories that are ancient and stories that appeared very recently. The oldest dates back to my teens, the latest to just a few weeks ago, to a dream image of someone walking into a wood out of which blows thickly whirling snow, though there is no snow at all on the ground in the open. There are the stories I've been working on lately, and stories I have previously worked up into what I now realise was the wrong form. I've written three film scripts and three stage plays in my time and the Gods only know what possessed me to do so, since all of them would be better off re-written as straightforward narrative fiction.
I have, in total, besides "Ramundi's Sisters" and "Gabriel Yeats", both of which are finished and require only revision, another eight very promising stories, eight that are not quite ready, and eleven that are definitely not ready, but that still intrigue me. Plus three that are not fit for purpose, but have a grain of possibility lurking - a good central idea or a strong character waiting for the right home... twenty-nine healthy items all told, and three duds.
It's a slightly scary total. I've decided to make proper notes about the state of each idea, to see if that clarifies how "cooked" they are, and which ones I should start on next. Wish me luck; it's a big undertaking I've got there.
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