I’m just back from a week in Madeira.
Before I went I selected a brand new empty notebook from my stash and packed it in my suitcase – ready to fill with wonderful words as I basked in foreign climes. The notebook has returned completely empty. I didn’t write a single word.
But I’m not counting that as a failure. We also took far fewer pictures than usual on holiday. I’d like to think that instead of making a point of recording everything in pictures or words, we were actually living in the moment (and enjoying it!). I have returned with memories of some of the emotions I felt whilst on holiday and I’m hopeful that I can draw on these to add depth to my fiction when trying to imagine how a character might feel in a particular situation. For example:
- The nausea I felt when the pilot tried to land at Funchal airport in high winds (the landing was aborted 3 times before we diverted to Faro). The plane was buffeted from side to side and I had to locate the sick bag, just in case!
- The claustrophobic fear that overcame me when we walked through a 1.4 km long tunnel. It was pitch black, the low, rough ceiling forced us to bend over and we had one tiny torch between us. My husband banged his head and had blood trickling down his face when we finally emerged into the light and … realised we’d gone the wrong way – we should have turned down a path before the tunnel.
- The respect and admiration that was due to the native Madeirans who are trying to eke a living by farming small plots of land on the steep hillsides. They have to walk a long way along steep, rough paths to get to their land and then pay for water from the levadas to irrigate their crops.
It can be good to relish the moment and store away those feelings to pull out a later date.
What about you – do you write whilst on holiday?