Ideas have been my eternal companion.
Looking back on life, even from the earliest days, I can see how I became a writer. I had lots of imaginary friends as a child (some may say I still do!), and delighted in making up stories.
And that's the writing thing, in essence. Yes, there's lots of actual hard work, planning and shaping, and then the battering away at a keyboard for months, but it all stems from the original idea. Without that, we're nothing.
I love it when I have an idea, simple creature that I am. It lights my life. I could almost dance with it. I delight in its company and carry it around with me, to make us both happy.
It's oddly like a romance - I tend to fall in love with my ideas and hope they do the same with me.
I mention this now because I'm teaching media careers on Thursday at Exeter University. Not one for standing at a lectern for an hour and waffling, I like to make the sessions different and interactive. That makes for a far more fun and memorable time.
I was searching the old jungle of the imagination for an exercise which would illustrate part of a hack's life, and came up with what I think will be a very jolly one. It's to do with news priorities and pressure, but more I won't say as I want it to be a surprise. So, it's time to try it out and I'm looking forward to it (if you're coming along on Thursday, beware!)
Earlier this month, when I was teaching creative writing at Otterton and Drake's Primary Schools in east Devon, I tried out another idea which came upon me, the Storyball (the pink thing I'm holding) -
We threw it to each other, with everybody who caught it contributing a line of a story, and it worked so well the youngsters wanted to keep on playing.
I loved it! Even more so as, like many good ideas, the Storyball will translate to just about anywhere. I even plan to use it for teaching writing to grown ups as well - and I bet they enjoy it just as much.
(For as I've often said, at heart we are all still children, not least me.)
Right, I must be off now to make sure Thursday's careers session is well-prepared, new idea and all. Finally for this blog, thanks to all those who've been kind enough to say they're enjoying the addition of photographs to these rambles.
On the subject of which here's one from this time last year, a fond memory of me in Switzerland where I was teaching the Geneva Writers' Group -
I chose it because I've got the kind of look that suggests I may just have come up with a new idea - that or been drinking some of the fine local brews... Here's to ideas!