When I began writing – twenty five years ago now – one of the most touted pieces of advice was to keep a diary. I duly took note, and for the next few years diligently logged everything that took my fancy. It wasn’t very time consuming, maybe 25-20 mins every evening. However after a few years the novelty wore off and in time the diaries were completely forgotten, only re-surfacing recently when I was having a bit of a tidy-up. What did I deem worthy of inclusion in those far-off days? The first entry is headed ‘Dreams Only In The Front’, and I recall being impressed with some woman writer who suggested that dreams are the fount of all good writing, and that we writers should keep a diary of all our dreams. Here is the first one I logged, dated 27/1/91; I am travelling as a pillion passenger with the PM John Major on his motor bike. His jacket bothers me, the way it keeps flapping about as we move. He keeps losing me and has to keep coming back for me. We stop while he carries out some adjustments to the bike; he does some calculations with his pen on the wallpaper in the room we are in, then he signs his work ‘J Major PM was here’. We meet an old woman who asks me a profound question. I answer Mr Simpson. She thinks I said ‘Mrs Simpson’, which is the correct answer. She is impressed. Here is another one, dated 23/4/9; I am part of an audience watching a concert.We are being entertained by a black gymnast who is doing cartwheels across the stage. At the interval Alan Plater comes on stage to give a talk. He is loudly cheered by the writing fraternity- whom I vaguely know. Then he comes amongst us selling copies of his book ‘ANY OLD IRON’ for £5.99. Crazy stuff!
Flicking through at random here are some other entries; Funerals; the first thing O’Leary looked at was the deaths column in his daily paper. There was usually someone who had passed away in the vicinity, to whose funeral he could go to. Was he a professional mourner? 5/6/91 Watched the film Billy Liar again on TV. Even after all these years it was still fresh and hilariously funny. I felt the ending was a cop-out though; he should have been allowed to go off to London with Julie Christie. Otherwise all his dreams were for nothing. And one of the last ones; 20/7/97 Dicko. How can I describe him? Hilariously decadent. His stories take some beating; he has only one subject – SEX. How about Bridget the blow-up doll! I am definitely going to write a story about him -TRAVELS WITH BRIDGET! (In fact I did write that story. Must see if I can find it again)
I must trawl through these diaries again. I am sure there is a book in them.
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