I wonder whether it’s possible to track an idea from it’s earliest germ to it’s final expression in prose.
I’ve thought about this now and again but never committed anything to blogpost before, mostly because I’ve never been hyper-aware enough to catch the exact moment of an idea’s arrival.
Then - FANFARE!! - suddenly I was.
It happened on Friday 25th May 2018 on a train between Manchester, UK and Sheffield, a second city a fifty minute journey away. I was on the 7:57am service. It was about 8:20am.
A spine of hills and moorland sometimes referred to as ‘the backbone of England’ – the Pennines – lies between the two cities. To drive from one to the other would mean using Snake Pass, a winding and exposed road often closed by snow in winter and a notorious year-round accident black-spot. The train service, of course, takes you beneath the hills.
There are, Wikipedia tells me, a number of trans-pennine tunnels but the one I travelled through is, I think, the Disley Tunnel. It’s three-and-a-half kilometres long and pitch black. Here's the entrance -
Now, these are not high-speed trains. Getting through takes a while. When you emerge on the other side, there’s a feeling of entering a new world from out of a dark portal. You quickly pull up at a station, and – seriously – it’s called Dore. As in door.
There it is. My strange tunnel/portal idea at the exact point of conception!! Or EPOC as I will be pompously calling it, ha ha.
People often ask where ideas come from, and when I show them the earliest form of those ideas – like in an iphone note or a couple of words scribbled somewhere – they’re always disappointed. Jeez, you see them think. I could’ve done that. Well, yeah. You could, you’ve probably done it a thousand times. I don’t think my ideas are any better than anyone else’s, frankly probably a bit below average. But what I do know is this; something else will collide with that tunnel idea sometime soon – something in some way related, because I’ve now got an open file marked ‘weird railway tunnels’ in my head.
Once idea two meets idea one, it’ll grow and change. When that happens, I’ll throw out a quick blog about it. Just so I can track how this whole thing happens and grows.
Or withers and dies.