Rings around the Lake

Sunday 9th May

Sunday was my first time back at the Lake since January. It was good to see it so full of people enjoying the Spring weather; messing about in boats and on paddle boards, swimming and hanging around by the café.

There was a running event in progress: people in Lycra bearing official numbers and red faces, circling the lake on the footpath, being applauded at various points, plus a very official Official Finishing Line.

I took a walk around the lake, both for exercise and to record background sounds for this month’s piece of writing. As each runner passed, I occasionally struggled to keep out of their way, the footpath being quite narrow in places. The narrower the path, the closer the runners and I got to each other. But the closer we came, the more we acknowledged one another with a nod, a smile or a quick ‘thank you!’

Perhaps a good metaphor for life and how you deal with the people you meet on the way. Perhaps even an idea for a script.

Perhaps I’m reading too much into it. But if you were running round Lake 32 on Sunday and an odd bloke in a purple hat kept getting in your way, I do apologise.

Monday, 10th May

After a week getting my characters into shape, working out who they were and what they wanted, today I finally broke ground on the new script.

It all went better than I expected and I now have a complete draft, almost 3000 words. The new script is now called ’Square With The House’ (the working title ‘Ashes to Ashes’ felt too obvious). It mostly follows the storyline I worked out last week: brother and sister Jack & Ali arrive at the lake to scatter the ashes of their late father. Having forgotten to ask permission, they must dodge the park staff and face a crisis in their relationship while dealing with their feelings towards their late, estranged father.

Having got a draft done this early means I will have more time to polish it and avoid the problems from the first script which suffered from being over-written, a problem you sometimes only spot after you’ve recorded the play and heard it spoken by others.

Dialect X/Lake 32 – May 2021

Back to the Lake

A lot has happened since I started my first month as resident writer, January 2021 didn’t turn out anything like I was expecting. I couldn’t visit Lake 32 due to COVID restrictions – although this did trigger a more interesting approach for my first submission – and I had to deal with an unexpected medical complication.

Over Christmas 2020 I had noticed a lump forming on my left temple. A biopsy early in January ultimately revealed not a cyst, but a recurrence of the low-grade Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma I was first diagnosed with back in 2017. Fortunately, a PET scan in early January showed a single, localised area instead of something more widespread. A course of RT during February soon got rid of it, leaving me tired… and slightly balder.

Anyway, with all that behind me, it’s time to get back in the saddle and start working on ideas for May. Having read the pieces Hannah, Alun and Jacqui have produced, I have a lot to live up to.

My January piece involved people prevented by COVID from getting to the lake. My piece for May (again a radio play) will be about people who are obliged to go there when they don’t want to be: Ali and Jack come to the Lake to scatter their (estranged) late father’s ashes and film the process for relatives unable to be there due to ongoing COVID restrictions.

I have plenty of ideas about how the story will proceed, but before I start writing, I need to get the characters clear in my mind, and find out as much about them as possible. Who are they? What makes them tick? What do they fear, what do they want.