I remember what someone once said to me, Theres a book in all of us. I wonder if that person should really have meant that each one of us is story in our own right.I believe that train journeys can be an inspiration, as long as one stays focused on steady thought. I remember one journey in particular. It was the middle of August 2003, and I was travelling on the 08:03 train from Weybridge to Waterloo. That summer was memorable too as I personally cant remember a time in London when the sun shone everyday for almost 50 days. Temperatures regularly hit 80degree F with some days soaring to over 90 degreesF.
That year the trains were different too – For some reason for the last 6months older, crankier and slower trains known as slam-door trains were in circulation. Interestingly, some cabins had been marked as First Class but during peak hours all cabins were covered by the same rating and ticket cost. Half way on our journey to London Waterloo, a couple of elderly ladies, maybe in their Golden years, whatever that means, joined our cabin. The cabins configuration was set-up with six seats with a set of 3 seats facing each other. I sat facing the direction of travel whereas the ladies sat opposite. On route I tried to focus on the book I was reading, Id recently been introduced to John Grisham so I was keen to get to the end of the chapter. Their chatter was self indulgent, and one could here the occasional words that may give away the associated topic area. Words such as Vicar Sunday Cooking Meeting allowed the unfocused and subconcious listener to follow their topic of discussion. Later during their discussion, their conversation moved to, Publisher Reviewer Signing and the phrase My latest book emerged.
Eventually one of the ladies left the cabin at Vauxhall, one stop before London Waterloo. I then toyed with the idea of asking and finding out if the remaining lady was a famous writer or personality. My heart raced with my mind urging me to open my mouth and ask an introductory exploratory question. After a few seconds I plucked up enough courage to say, I hope you dont mind me asking, but are you an author? I was confident that shed heard me but I received no acknowledgement. Now this may have had some thing to do with either the mirrored sunglasses I was wearing or her shock that someone had asked her something so personal. It may have been a simpler issue, i.e: that the sound of the rattling train was so loud that my question had been sounded out. My belief was the prior.
I decided to ask her the same question again, this time she responded with, Oh! Are you talking to me. Sorry what did you say, again, I repeated my question. She then sprung into life declaring, Actually I do write books, some short stories but mainly non-fiction? I proudly declared, Actually Im a part-time writer, but Im finding it hard to balance everyday work with productivity. The aim of the statement was to gain an insight from her about how she managed. I followed up my point by saying, Ive read Creative writing by Diane Doubtfire and she appears to be insistent that one needs structure. The authoress then responded and said, If you want to write, get some quiet time and just let if flow.
A simple message emerged. If we have something to say, wish to make a change or communicate to each other, other than by voice, then writing is a form of expression that we must not forget. Whether it is a petition or an expression of hope for highlighting injustice or struggle, writing can be a way of raising debate. Change can be facilitated but not at the expense of ego. In the future Blogs will be a big influence. A blog is an online: personal diary, daily pulpit, collaborative space, political soapbox, breaking news outlet, collection of links, your own private thoughts or memos to the world. Over the last few years blogs have reshaped the web, impacted politics, shaken up journalism, and enabled millions of people to have a voice and connect with others. Watch-out for blogs coming soon to a website near you. You maybe convinced to author your own one day.