I am meant to be taking a few weeks away from the story that has been living in my head for too long now, but it’s not entirely working yet. I keep having the characters’ commentary on something pop into my head in situations which I then realise mirror something I know they experienced. Sometimes it makes me laugh. Sometimes it makes me sad. Then life moves on again. The good news is that I am feeling more open to new ideas again, and things I’ve played around with in the past are coming back to me now and again, jostling for attention and to make it to the top of the pile. The story which is currently winning is about a girl called Lesya who grew up in the Ukraine in the years when Stalin decided to starve the population, with millions dying as a result. I had got her to a certain point in her story and then left it – and her – there, because I didn’t know what happened next. Now – perhaps – I do, and I have some scenes in my head which I now need to jot down before I go to sleep. I have pictures in my head of her interacting with different people in specific places and a sense of what she was feeling in those moments. Whether they will at some point lead to a fully-fledged story, I don’t yet know, but there is something there to write down and tuck away and see what happens. The real question for me becomes – is this a story I would want to read? If so, I will write it. If not, I will leave it and find a better one.

I’m also finding it amusing how little echoes keep coming to me, like when I walk out of a subway and think, this is like a Berlin station I know, or when we walk five minutes to change subway trains and it feels just like Friedrichstrasse in the mid-1990s. And then I see this:

And I have to take the picture, because it reminded me immediately of a picture I took in Berlin:

The difference was that even I decided it was too dangerous to stand in the middle of the street to get the two structures to ‘touch’, although I know I can get them at just the right angle. Which probably means I will go back another day and do the photo ‘properly’, but probably not while my family is standing waiting for me. The traffic has to stop for a few seconds at some point, doesn’t it?

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