Adam Bird

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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

On Being Reunited with Strangers

The Bicycle Man

Last year I took part and completed successfully the Wordpress post-a-week challenge which saw me write 52 blog posts over each week of the year. In 2012, as we cross over into the second half of the year I've found myself lapsing back into 'lazy blogger' mode, posting sporadically and with time growing ever more distant between posts. That’s not to say that I’ve been idle, far from it - I made a promise and I’m trying my damndest to keep it.

The promise, made via this blog towards the end of May, was that I would finally find my way back into a project that I also started last year. A project in which I attempted to write a novel, which was inspired by a photograph of a man I took; a man who sat gazing out to sea at Riverside Country Park – a place right on the end of the causeway there known mysteriously as ‘Horrid Hill’.

What was he thinking as he gazed out at beyond? Only God will ever know. But I took a wildly fictitious guess - which subsequently grew into a mystery that spans over eight decades and is woven around a modern story of complex relationships; a mixture of love, loss and betrayal whilst taking a look at how effectively people really communicate in a world where everyone seems to be connected.

I started writing with blind enthusiasm, let words spew forth from my mind and onto my computer in a series of connected sentences that kind of made sense and my manuscript began to grow and develop.

But then Phoebe came along in November last year and ‘The Bicycle Man’ hit the brakes. On return to work we had the crisis with our client roster and the uncertain future of our employment. Then this year when the crisis passed with a satisfying resolution I began the epic build of three websites for my uncle Matthew and the fine people at King’s Church Medway who do so much for their local community.

All the time, in my mind at least, whilst I was busy with other things, I’d think about the characters I’d invented. I’d wonder how the mystery I started painting would finish and if Ian Parsons, the man whose world was turned upside down in my novel under construction – whether he’d ever find the answers he was looking for and Pete, would the mystery of his disappearance so long ago ever be solved?

I am a strong believer in things happening for a reason, and my six month writing gap is no exception. That time was spent in thought and reflection. It allowed me to build up a stronger desire not to fail and to finally complete what I started. It also allowed me space, so that when I went back, I could see the little holes that had come from such a spontaneous explosion of words, letters and ideas that didn’t quite make sense.

When I printed out what I’d written in preparation to start where I left off, I reread my work in a new light. The names and sounds were familiar but the journey so far left me, as a reader excited and wanting to know what happens next. Those thoughts and feelings have done nothing but increase my confidence and desire to see this project to the very end.

Which is where my promise finishes too. I will get to the end, of that I’m certain. But anything that happens after that – well we can all dream, can’t we?

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