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Breaking through the clouds

Updated: Feb 3, 2020

Chamonix's mountains, Feb 2018

I do my best thinking and story creation when I take the limits of time and schedule away. All my best stories have come to me this way. They almost write themselves. Time seems to stand still while I write in my favoured purple notebook. So why do I keep forcing myself to stop writing? Why am I compelled to check and recheck my schedule?

I love writing. The problems start when I try to get my thoughts and ideas off the handwritten page and onto my laptop. The disruption of opening up my laptop soon clouds over the clarity I had in my purple notebook. Emails and messages ping across my screen demanding and diverting my attention. As a result I have countless notebooks waiting for me to type them up!

I view typing as the ‘boring’ bit. In many ways it can be when it comes to typing up a completed story. But what if I wrote the story here on the laptop, and not in my notebook? At least that way there’d be less notebooks to type up. Best of all, this way I could skip the boring it altogether.

Typing this as I think it, rather than afterwards is far more fun. So, today is really an experiment. I've closed my email and messaging programmes. No more interruptions.I'm going to play here on my laptop rather than in my treasured purple notebook and see what comes.

I love thinking. It brings me love, joy and wonder, all in one. There is no better activity for me, than to be free of time for a while and let my mind roam where it pleases. When I stop to listen to my thoughts rather than try to direct and constrain them, I am never disappointed. My thoughts, some might prefer to call them dreams, take me on the most wonderful of adventures. I love allowing them to take me where they will.

Today, my thoughts are of mountains. Mountains are my soul, they are where I am most at home. They also provide the best viewing point for what I love even more than mountains and that’s the sky.

The sky never looks as wonderful as it does in the mountains. The sharp contrast of their sculpted lines highlighting the infinite blue of a sunny sky, like the one here which I was lucky enough to witness recently.

I’ve loved mountains for as long as I can remember. In my family you were either a mountain or a sea person, a bit like being a cat or dog person. My mother is a sea person whereas my late father was definitely mountain. Although I loved the sea which I first saw when I was just a baby, I discovered I was a mountain person at the tender age of three when my parents took me to the Tatras in Poland. I loved them at first sight. After that, no year felt complete unless I’d spent at least some of it in the mountains. I’ve written about mountains a lot and when I’m not in them, I keep them with me by surrounding myself with pictures of them, reading about them in books and never missing a film or novel in which they feature. It’s no coincidence that I set my first screenplay in the mountains.

Earlier this month, I went to Chamonix. I stayed, as I often do, with my friends William and Gina, in their chalet in Les Houches. I’ve known William for as long as I’ve known Chamonix. It was he who first introduced my twenty one year old self to what fast became my favourite place on earth. Chamonix lies in a wonderful valley surrounded on all sides by the highest and most awe inspiring mountains in Europe. Like a hidden Shangri-La, it is protected by its peaks from the outside world. Although I love the mountains at any time of year, I love them most in winter when everything is covered in snow. The world turned into a magical, crystalline snow globe where I can ski to my heart’s content.

My husband, Sing, loved Chamonix and its mountains as much as me. In 2007 his life was brutally cut short when he was still only thirty six. We scattered his ashes, just as he wished, on Chamonix’s Le Brevent.

We chose a spot hidden from the pistes which looks across the valley at Mont Blanc. One day I’ll join him there, but for now as I look at Mont Blanc, it’s easy to feel his smile in its radiance. Our children feel it too. It’s a very special place for us. We always visit what we now call ‘Sing’s Corner’ to share the view with him. We took a picnic with us this time and sat there for a while, enjoying the beauty of his chosen spot.

Today's experiment has shown me that writing on my laptop can be just as much fun as writing by hand. This way, I can take out the part of my self-defined writing process which has been obstructing the flow of my writing.

I like writing this way. It doesn’t feel like ‘just typing’ anymore. Best of all, I don’t need to type it up!

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