It is extraordinary, how a thing can simply not exist – never have existed – and then suddenly be there.
I know the imagination is fed by many springs, and its outflow prompted by the oddest conjunctions of events. A myriad tiny elements come together, and suddenly a story springs from the ground and runs away downhill, with characters and scenarios bubbling forth, alive and vivid in the sun. In the absence of any one of those elements, perhaps the story would never well up at all; perhaps it would stay buried in one’s mind, deep in the underground water table of thought.
But as it is, the elements do conjoin, and there it is; and it feels as though this one thing has come into being from nothing. All other matter comes from previous states of matter. Only the imagination seems to come out of nowhere and no-thing, the goddess Athena springing fully armed and extremely lively from the forehead of Zeus.
I have been writing steadily for the last ten days. Eleven days ago, Anna Maple, Thorn Reynolds and Carlton Truro did not exist, and nor did Jasper Jarvis, who is what I believe is referred-to as the principal antagonist. They had no past and no future, their fears and hopes did not exist, nor their courage, nor their frustrations and losses; and Anna had never tucked her amulet inside her collar, and Thorn had never hated Vegas, or had two of his ribs cracked by a scrupulously thuggish lab technician...
In a way it’s rather irritating. I was halfway through two stories that had been going well, when the Muse took a vacation. She didn’t like the stressed-out Imogen who was house-share-hunting and trying to move in a hurry. She left me painfully aware that if I went on with those two stories I would be forcing things that just weren’t ready to grow any more at the moment.
Then out of nowhere the Muse comes back, finds me sitting on a number 237 bus, and presents me with this. She’s like a big kid (I hope she won’t be offended with me for saying so!); she’s more interested in the new story, so that’s the one I have to write. She teases me with the idea that if I give this some attention, she’ll help me along with “Midnight in the Café Tana” as well - in a while, once this new story is in good shape. But “in good shape” may mean “first draft completed”.
Oh well, we’ll see. In the meantime, I can see that I’m going to get fond of bottled-up, impulsive Anna and bloody-minded Thorn. But I feel already as if I have known them for years, yet they have existed for less than a fortnight. It’s just so weird.