I have found it fascinating on many occasions how people comment on my stories, both here on my blog, by email or in person, wondering what happens next, or indeed where my idea came from.
I think the first time it really surprised me was when my first published story, Listen, was published, and a lady who teaches English said to me that she loved the idea of the spirits in the garden. When I wrote the story, however, it was inspired by having a submission deadline, and sitting at my kitchen table with no ideas, I gazed out into my garden and saw some birds flying around, so I based the story on those birds. I loved the idea that people can read a flash fiction story and take what they want from it, and go where their own imagination leads them.
I've realised lately that a lot of my stories are inspired by animals or nature, principally I suppose because I have a love of our natural environment so I pay attention to things going on around me. As well as the birds, I have had stories inspired by a single leaf, a documentary about elephants from years before, rose hips and autumnal hedgerows. Also, however, some of my stories are inspired by strong emotions, from a newspaper article, a museum visit, a friend in pain.
I think I escape into my stories when I need to. I am not one of those incredibly disciplined writers who sits and writes every day. For me, stories fall into my head (or that is how it feels) fully formed, and I simply mull them over for however long it takes (this can be minutes to a couple of days) and then sit down and write the whole story out.
I have had a lot of comments lately, very kind comments about how people have missed my writing and flash fictions in particular. I am so grateful for those. I have had a very transitional time in the past eighteen months, going from being a stay-at-home mother with a (false) sense of security of being married, to how I find myself now, a divorced single parent who works every free minute she has. I'm not writing this for any sort of sympathy by the way, because I can say for certain I am a more complete person now than I was back then. With that sense of contentment and satisfaction (of building up my own freelance business) I am again finding stories falling into my head. It was a gradual process but they are becoming more regular, more varied and more in need of being written out again. I am grateful for that, and to you, my readers, for being patient enough to still be here waiting after such a long pause.
Thank you as always for reading.