Wednesday, 11 March 2009

'Baaa...' said the wet towel

On QI last week, I saw someone recreating the sound of a lamb being born. Just the sort of sound effect they must use a lot on The Archers for instance. It involved kneading something that looked like wet clay, in order to make the squeaky birth canal sounds, followed by dropping a wet towel a short distance onto a hard surface. Try this at home with your eyes closed and you'll hear straight away the bleat of a little lamb soon afterwards, I promise.
Or it could be the sound is the squeaking of a nib across parchment, followed by the flop of the manuscript on the table and the small cry of pleasure that the writer feels at the transmogrification of his/her thoughts into actual writing. No? God no. But wait...I do remember that sort of feeling a long, long time ago when I did use a pen and paper and writing was a new found vehicle for revealing my inner, sparkling self. Or my inner, wise/mysterious/dark/depressed/angry/grubby/tormented self (please delete as necessary).
Fortunately, with a bit of separation that years can bring (but doesn't always), I now feed some of that material into the stories I want to write where appropriate. The odd thing is that the process of redrafting is somehow reminiscent of kneading the clay, except that instead of finishing with a formless heap of wet towel, I carry on shaping the clay and end up with a pot or a story. Why, it could be a story about a lamb, or even, ewe.

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