look around you

I haven’t forgotten it’s Thurday. Here’s today’s micro missive:

Houdini’s first afterlife message, delivered by email: Lack of limbs renders escape awkward but not impossible. Flexibility of will, vital.

Sometimes I like to have fun with these little splashes of words.

After signs of an incipient summer we’re back to monsoon rains. I was thinking of hitting the cinema this afternoon for the latest Star Trek movie but I was in a midst of a strong writing session–I was having fun–so I decided that Kirk et al. could wreck CGI havoc without me for another few days.

I did brave the floods and rain for a poetry reading, only to realise I got my dates wrong and I was a week early. Doh! Ah well, maybe the break will be good for me. I thought a lot about the next scene as I sat in my car and my windscreen wipers thumped and sloshed (and of course I paid attention to the road–far better than some people who don’t realise you are supposed to slow down when it’s raining).

I also dropped by my library and picked up a bunch of writing books. Recently I read On Writing, by Stephen King. Yeah, I know, I’m late to this party. Actually, I enjoyed the biography sections the most, and thought his description of his horrendous accident proved what a masterful writer he is. Real life horror served up with brutal honesty.

I selected a hodgepodge of writing books, including The Third Mind by William S. Burroughs and Brian Gysin. This is the beauty of libraries. Oddball stuff like this lurks on shelves, hiding between typical fare like Mastering Chick Lit and Crash Testing for Dummies.

There’s a cool little interview with Burroughs right at the start, which is as far I’ve read. At one point he says: “Most people don’t see what going on around them. That’s my principal message to writers: For Godsake, keep your eyes open. Notice what’s going on around you.”

It’s a simple thing, but true. I get a lot of ideas just by watching how people behave, and noticing the extraordinarily odd things that happen all the time. Sometimes you wonder if you are the only person who witnessed it. Which makes it special.