Straight from the Compost Heap to you!
Both River Rule and Broken Rule came straight from my compost heap – my writer’s compost heap.
The home of River Rule, Khamosh Valley, was written in a couple of sentences when I was eight in junior boarding school. Rather than write it in any more detail I remember drawing it with a temple and then colouring it in with oil pastels. I soon forgot about the picture but did begin to write my growing pains, thoughts and words and dump them on a growing writing compost heap.
Thirty or so years later a surprising whiff from my writing compost heap arose.
It happened when I was in front of a whiteboard while teaching eight to nine-year olds about cliff-hangers in an English lesson. I am a visual learner and teacher so found myself drawing what I meant. When I moved away from the board to see what I had done, I gasped. I had forgotten about the picture and sentences I had written so long ago. Yet they were in my illustration of cliff hangers.
That class is now seventeen years of age… just in case you are wondering.
Anyhow the rest is history. A year later I gave my notice in and began my professional writing career with River Rule.
Morale of the story
Compost all your writing in your journals in between other writing projects. I have columns of writing journals dating 1991 and one notebook from my high school days. It’s a shame I no longer have my earlier picture of the temple with countless steps and the bridge with the torrid river flowing underneath it. Then again, my drawing skills haven’t improved…