I'm often asked - what's the most important quality you need to be a writer?
Many potential answers bounce into mind. A hard work ethic, persistence, an observer's eye, great vanity, even greater stupidity...
But probably top of the list comes imagination.
Without the mind doing its wonderful random pinball ricocheting thing, there's no creativity and innovation, no insights and understandings.
I spotted a simple but delightful sight this week which set my imagination firing...
Who was on the bench? Not partners I thought, as they were sitting too far apart.
Unless they'd had a tiff.
Friends then? But it still seemed a long way apart... so not good friends.
And what was it which one had placed between them? And slightly favouring one of them... so important in some way?
Was it two men who stopped here? Two women? Or a man and a woman?
It felt like two men to me, but I'm still not sure why.
And why did they choose to sit down on a frosty bench anyway? Why not wipe it? Didn't they care? Were they too preoccupied? Or was whatever they had to stop for urgent?
Off went my mind through all these skips, hops and sprints.
And even now, several days on from taking the picture, I'm still wondering just what happened on that bench on a freezing Wednesday morning, and why?
Only two conclusions I've come to for sure -
1. I'm going to use the picture as the basis of an exercise in writing a story the next time I teach writing.
2. I have a very strange and overactive imagination (and I love it.)