Inspired by Dog Poop

It’s often said that writers find inspiration in the most unusual places. One example that sticks in my mind is that of song writer and famous singer Barry Gibb who tells the tale of how he came up with the idea for the song, ‘Chain Reaction’. Apparently he had been sitting on the lavatory and then pulled the chain to flush it (back in the days when lavatories had chains rather than a handle). This prompted the idea, ‘I’m in the middle of a chain reaction’, which is a line from the chorus of the song ‘Chain Reaction’, penned by Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees and sung by Diana Ross.

 Toilet

A few weeks ago I was writing a particular scene from my latest novel, which is the third book in the Riverhill Trilogy. During the scene I have an unsavoury character walking through the shopping precinct on the Riverhill estate. I wanted to capture how run-down the estate was and how this particular character fitted into his environment. I had written an initial draft of the scene, but wasn’t quite happy with it. It didn’t feel seedy enough.

I took a break and went for a walk, which often helps to clear my head and make me feel more relaxed. In fact, I often find that when I switch off for a while rather than toiling over a difficult scene, the ideas flow more easily.

Whilst I was out walking, to my dismay, I noticed an unusually large amount of dog dirt on the streets. After recoiling from the filthy mess, an idea hit me. That’s it, I thought – dog dirt. Yes, dog dirt, with flies buzzing round it. This triggered other thoughts and by the time I returned home I had the scene written in my head. I just needed to type it up on the computer. I’ve included the scene below, and hope that it now hits the right tone:

Fly

As he progressed through the precinct, Maurice encountered occasional globules of yellowy green mucus stuck to the ground. Its consistency was so thick and slimy that it usually took several downpours of rain to wash it away. Catarrh; a product of pollution, cheap cigarettes and poor diet.

Maurice trudged along, kicking up greasy paper wrappings that had spilt from the overflowing bin outside the fish and chip shop. The wind had blown litter against a small wall surrounding a bogus raised border. Its upper area was now a failed garden full of barren bushes, downtrodden weeds, cigarette butts and the occasional used condom. Among the litter, flies fed hungrily on dog faeces and discarded chips spilling from a carton.

He continued on past the last shop, a bookies. Curiosity made him glance inside; it was the busiest shop on the precinct, crowded, dark and fuggy with the haze of exhaled cigarette smoke and cannabis hanging in the air.

This was his sort of area; a place where the menacing and the vulnerable co-existed.

Book 3 in the gritty Riverhill Trilogy of crime thrillers is scheduled for publication in the summer. I’ll be including more excerpts and background information as we approach publication date.

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Why I Don’t Write Poetry Anymore

White LilyLong before I did any other writing (as an adult) I used to write poetry. This was back in the 80s and well before I started my writing course. I went through a very difficult period in my life which lasted a few years and I found that writing poetry was cathartic for me. However, when I came through that dark period I found that I could no longer write poetry with such ease. It seems that my talent for poetry writing only applies to sombre and depressing topics for some strange reason. I have attempted to write happy poetry but haven’t often been successful with only one or two exceptions. So, as my life and my state of mind improved, I gradually stopped writing poetry.

Then, 10 years ago I lost my mother and it was a very traumatic experience. I woke up one morning shortly after her death with the first and last verses of a poem fully formed in my mind. Within half an hour I had added the remaining verses. Together they capture exactly how I felt at that time. After showing the poem to a few relatives the consensus was that it should be read out at the funeral. So it was arranged and many people commented on how moving they found it. That’s the last poem I wrote, and I hope that I won’t feel the urge to write any more for a long time. Here it is:

Each day when I wake I’m filled with pain

To think that we’ll never see you again

You were loving and caring as a mother should be

You meant the world to my brothers and me

 

For months you suffered but soldiered on

I feel so guilty now that you’re gone

If only we’d known how ill you were

Then maybe you would still be here

 

The last two weeks were relatively good

They kept you from pain as much as they could

We had a party around your bed

It was lovely to see us together you said

 

We’ll always remember the happier days

You made us laugh in so many ways

With your quirky sayings and sense of fun

You could turn anything into a pun

 

Wherever we are you’ll always be there

It’s hard to express just how much we care

Your memory will never go away

For you made us all what we are today

White Lily and Cross

 Do you write any poetry that you would like to share? What inspires you with your poetry writing or with writing in general? Please feel free to let me have your feedback below.