There’s a saying amongst writers, and it’s good advice!
Write what you know.
Because when you know something, you can seamlessly inject the five senses into your writing so the reader shares the experience. You can include seemingly irrelevant details that add substance and depth to your story. You can make things real – because they are!
This week we had friends visit, and during the course of their coming and going, the kids quietly disappeared into the shed, eyes alight with possibilities…
It is amazing what kids can do with chunks of styrene, copious amounts of string, lengths of timber, metal and plastic, old feed bags and… just about anything that crosses their path. (It is also amazing the mess that they can make in a shed during this time!)
But at the end of three industrious days, we were looking at an engineering feat that should impress… anyone! An incredibly technical catamaran, which included sails that furled and unfurled on a movable beam – to catch the wind at different angles, of course!
We were in fact looking from the edges of the dam, where the glistening white craft was bobbing about, almost blown away with every whisper of wind. Drifting right alongside it was our bamboo raft – from an earlier project. And wading around both, with much wisecracking and witticism – with much anticipation! – were five eager boat builders, and one very big kid! (That was the Dad, dragged in to help crew the raft – but in truth, he is the biggest kid of the lot!)
Three families were in attendance for the afternoon’s feature event – a boat race across the dam! Even the paparazzi were out in force, with cameras and videos liberally sprinkled amongst the spectators.
Could the complexly crafted catamaran beat the tried-and-tested raft across the dam? Three crafty kids were convinced it could.
Could the catamaran sustain the weight of three kids (assuming they could weave the way onto a seat, amongst the intricate web of twine and timber) and remain in one piece? The adults were convinced it couldn’t.
There was evidence of sabotage… and cheating… and tomfoolery. And a fairly good soaking for all the ‘kids’… But a fantastic afternoon of fun and laughter was had by all. And it won’t be quickly forgotten.
I must admit that I’m looking forward to working this latest adventure into a children’s story of some sort. I may not have experienced it all for myself, but I know I have heard a lot about the building (and the virtues!) of that catamaran… and I know I have a mass of photos and video footage to help revive the memories. I also know a few kids who could fill in any gaps that I might have…
I’ll have a lot of fun writing that story, reliving the memories and laughing all over again at great times with family and friends!
We were all winners!