Friday, January 02, 2009

The writer's dilemma

Here is the writer-blogger's dilemma. Well, all right then, here is my dilemma. Yesterday I made notes on something that happened, and then I thought - Hmm, I might use that in "But I told you last year that I loved you." (The novel I'm writing.)

Then this morning I came to the blog and, having decided that although the situation in Gaza is getting worse and worse, I don't necessarily have to post about it everyday, that it's perfectly valid to offer other kinds of material to people, that cheering people up is a worthwhile pursuit - having decided all that, I wanted to post about the thing that happened yesterday. But if I did, did that mean I couldn't use it in the novel I'm writing? What do you think?

This is what happened...

Yesterday was bloody freezing. The trees were coated in white, and the mist didn’t move from the Longtstone Edge all day. At 8 in the morning, while the light was still dim, D and I drove down to Bakewell to feed the ducks. The river was a thick stew of ducks, geese, gulls, but only two swans.

Dave squatted down on the edge of the river and fed every bit of his bread to the swans. I stood back and threw bits of bread to as many different ducks as I could, trying to reach the ones at the back, and trying not to let the gulls get any food. They are so aggressive and they swoop and catch bread in mid-air if it’s high enough, and last time I was there on my own I fed the gulls alone. So it wasn’t their turn.

After we’d finished, I asked D if he thought you could tell the personality of someone by how they feed ducks.

S:"Why - for example – did you concentrate on the swans alone?"

D: "Am I an elitist, you mean?"

S: "That’s the way it looks."

D:"Well, the swans have bigger bodies and need more food to keep them alive – especially in this weather. There are only two swans. The ducks are two a penny."

S:"So you’re looking after them because there are only two? In case they die out? You’re looking after the rare ones? Like an endangered species?

D:"Yes. And I like them taking the bread from my hand. The ducks won't do that."

S:"I see."

D:"And they’re more beautiful."

S:"You are an elitist! You’re feeding them because they’re better looking than the ducks!"

D:"Who wouldn’t want two attractive, elegant birds eating out of his hand on New Year’s Day?"

I haven't forgotten Gaza. There will be a demonstration in London tomorrow. For details click here. For details of other demos around the UK, click here.

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