What Sparks a Story?



(as featured on my weekly Huffington Post blog)

That first fizz of inspiration can come from anywhere, but for me there were several technicolour moments, that seemed to be spotlighted in the run up to starting Cinema Lumière. One of the most extraordinary incidents took place over ten years ago, but even now, whenever I think about it, I feel a skitter of goosebumps across my skin.

But before I tell it, I want to make it absolutely clear that I am not the sort of person who hangs around crystal shops, I don’t see absolutely everything as a ‘sign from the Universe’ and as for believing in angels, sorry, it’s a leap too far. And yet…

‘Did that really just happen?’ I asked my friend Angelika as we sat on the Nr. 73 bus, heading towards Kings Cross. We were both staring at each other, trying to find a rational explanation for something utterly irrational that had just happened.



Earlier that afternoon, we – my German friend, Angelika and I, had been to the Tate Modern, to help take my mind, if only for an afternoon, off the recent death of my father from a stroke. Angelika’s grandmother had also died six months before, so perhaps naturally, our conversation as we’d stepped on the bus, turned to the possibility of life after death. Neither of us had very strong opinions on the subject and neither of us are religious.   

    We were the last passengers to board the bus and were sitting at the front on the ground floor, just by the luggage racks. As we rumbled off, we continued the conversation, but seconds later, without the bus having had a chance to stop again and let any other passengers on, we noticed an old man standing to our left, by the driver’s booth. He was dressed in an oddly old-fashioned three piece suit made from Harris tweed. I knew this because my Dad had a thing about Harris tweed suits and as a child I loved going with him to his tailor’s.

So it was the suit that I clocked first. Then I noticed that there was something sticking out of the man’s top jacket pocket, which I can only describe as an out-sized calling card. Short-sighted as I am, I could still make out what it said because the writing was in such bold print.

     “Death is not the end, it is just the beginning.”

The rest of this blog can be read on Gransnet, click here