Friday, 9 August 2013

Research ....

This last few weeks I have mostly been distracted from writing meandering in magical Mexico.
We had an amazing two weeks. It mostly involved making the most of the 'exclusive' all-inclusive food and drink at the resort and trying to look vaguely confident in public wearing less clothes than I usually wear for bed.
In truth my self-conscious bikini wearing was soon forgotten on two counts:
1 - very few people look anything like bikini models and the beach is a beautiful place to celebrate and wonder at the human form in ALL its shapes, sizes and guises.
2 - sunglasses are the perfect outfit for people watching.
I very quickly became too absorbed in my writerly research (general nosiness) too give a second thought to my lumps, bumps and sags.
Stressed young parents, grappling with toddlers, remembering relaxing holidays. Teenagers full of hormomes, egos and hopes of attracting the gaze of other teenagers whilst avoiding the attention of 'embarrassing' parents. Couples who, not unlike myself and MrT, have managed to shed all responsibilities for a couple of weeks to recapture a sense of each others and themselves.

With so few props to project and protect them people more easily expose themselves (literally sometimes but thankfully not too often!) but the constant ebbing and flowing of the ocean, the generous sun scattering crystals on the sea's surface, the white waves from the blue depths overwhelms human insecurities, puts us in our place. We are small, insignificant. Each grain of sand holds a millions memories but is brushed aside to make way for the present. I think I have never more fully understood the idea of living in the moment and observing and recording the moment in my notebook. I also came to realise the power of place (I know! But I'm new to this writing thing, and slow to learn!) I realised, really realised the importance of setting on character and narrative. I was really able to observe and reflect on the impact setting has on how people relate to each other and themselves.

I read books, drove MrT nuts with my incessant narration of life as I imagined it evolving before my eyes, sampled many cocktails (piƱa colada is still my favourite refreshing afternoon treat, margarita for pre-dinner indulgence), I made LOTS of notes - still unable to adequately find a way to capture the magic of the sea in my clumsy prose but I tried every single day. And every single day I noticed something different about it, as well as building narratives about the lives being lived on the shore.
There are LOTS of notes, I'm not sure what I will do with them all but I am sure that the trip did allow me time to develop as a writer. I've shared this reflection with MrT, how great an opportunity the holiday presented for me to hone my skills of observation, my writerly eye, in the hopes of more and frequent 'opportunities' but I also realise I need to find ways of capturing that at home. I need to observe my tree view as carefully as I did my sea view.
I live in hope of more 'research' trips though!


  1. Sounds like a lovely break - and the pics look superb! People watching is one of my fave occupations too for 'bikini bodies' wotta myth ..all those mag pics are retouched and sprayed!!! As I said to you ...nail polish like that and you can conquer the world!!

    1. Thank you Carol... MrsT conquering the world one ome pedicure at a time!!!

  2. Good post. I'd like to do more 'research', too. I hope it wasn't all a chore.

  3. Thanks Francis, I bore the strain bravely!