Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Blogging again

In some ways writers are similar to visual artists, in their close observation of details. Painters seeing a landscape might rearrange the composition in their heads, select colours for a canvas, respond to light and shade (I’m guessing here.)
As a writer even the most mundane detail transforms into words in my head – a carrier bag flapping in a gust of wind, the smell of earth beneath dry leaves – anything can be used to help set a scene somewhere in a book.
Recently I had a very different experience of noticing detail, spending a week in hospital suffering from pneumonia. Looked after by a wonderful team of NHS staff, I was reminded how much I take for granted every day. That first cup of NHS tea when I was able to drink, the feel of dry sheets after I managed to dislodge my drip which leaked in the bed, the joy of eating a piece of toast!
Not much about crime writing here but I have been a bit off the case recently - although I did have a clear view of the hospital car park, deserted after dark. One night I watched a lone figure hurry along the walkway and couldn’t help thinking “What if…”
…a second figure leaps unexpectedly from the shadows, brandishing a knife, and the patient becomes an unwilling witness, three floors up. Before she can move or cry out the victim staggers and falls, the assailant vanishes into the darkness… The patient presses her buzzer and watches as the victim bleeds to death far below in the deserted car park…

22 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Wow, I'm glad you are out and OK. Pneumonia is a nasty thing.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Charles. It's never good to be ill, but I was in hospital with an illness I knew I would recover from, so I counted myself very lucky. Thanks for the good wishes.

fizzycat said...

Pneumonia, week in hospital? aw glad you are better now.
Can understand the pleasure from a cup of tea in hospital and first slice of toast, did the nill by mouth myself thing years ago. You really appreciate it when you can eat again.
All the best for a fast complete recovery and yourself back to writing as soon as possible.

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks, fizzycat. Those simple things we take for granted... it's a humbling experience.

ConstanceH said...

Glad you are feeling better.Not fun being held "hostage" in a hospital. Continue with a speedy recovery and don't overdo. ~Connie

Leigh Russell said...

Thank you very much, Connie. I'm doing my best to cope with enforced idleness (actually I could get quite used to this!)

Val said...

I'm so glad you are okay! Love your drifting mind and how it works.

Those what ifs could become a fascinating story!

Star said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about your illness and spell in hospital. How awful! I have also been in hospital with pneumonia, many years ago, but I know what it felt like. My heart goes out to you and wishes for your complete recovery are winging their way to you right now. Now take care of yourself as you get better.
Love the intro to your new book. I'm glad you are interested enough to think about it!

Guillaume said...

Glad you are back and feeling better. Pneumonia sure sucks. I had one a few years ago. At least your time in hospital gave you inspiration.

And guess what I am reading at the moment...

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Guillaume, and thanks for the good wishes. I daren't hazard a guess about what you're reading right now... but I hope you're enjoying it!

Leigh Russell said...

Thank you very much, Star. Always thinking... !

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Val and thanks. Yes, all my books begin with a 'what if...?' The ideas can hit me in the craziest places at the most unlikely times, and sometimes the ideas just won't go away. I have a number of 'scenes' stored away between my ears. Never short of ideas!

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks to everyone who has sent me good wishes here. It's great to have this support.

Ev Bishop said...

Gah! So glad you're recovered--and you're sure right about how the littlest things are wonderful . . . I loved your story idea. Will you actually do anything with it, do you think?

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Ev - who knows? I have lots of little snippets like that stored away in my mind that might surface in a book one day. Glad you liked it - it was just a passing thought, but then that's how my debut novel started...

Guillaume said...

Have a look at my blog.

Debs Carr said...

Glad to hear you're much better, although it sounds as if that writer's instinct of not missing a good story was with you despite being so unwell.

Leigh Russell said...

I've been over and left a comment, Guillaume. I've been very lax about visiting other blogs lately - but I do have an excuse, for once!

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks for the good wishes, Debs. Yes, writing is never far from our thoughts once we're hooked, is it?

Pat said...

Now you have to take more care of yourself.
I like the start of your new book:)

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks, Pat

John Walker said...

I am so pleased to hear you are getting well again Leigh. I have had a run in with hospitals lately, so I know the territory.

Thanks for your comment on my somewhat neglected blog. Afraid I have been busy pulling my book together; Am I alone, I ask. :)

As for artists' vision and imagination, you are quite right. Painters see the world much as writers do. They just choose to 'paint' it in a different way. As I do both, I feel authorised to comment!

Writing is better though. An artists can invent, by leaving things out; (Wind Generators) and putting things in. (A nice stately Elm tree!) A painter can also go completely abstract.

However, I honestly find it easier to invent with words. I can be accused of making mistakes only by an editor or a sharp reader! As a painter, I accuse myself... Often!

Best of luck and thanks again.
John