Wednesday, May 12, 2010

For guns, for some reason we shouted Dar! Dar! Dar!

War, the natural sport of young male kind, was also the natural non-football game in which we indulged as kids. We happily had a small country of hedgerows, streams, trees and open fields to roam around. Even a derelict house or ruined castle, if we felt energetic enough to go that far.

Mostly, we stuck to some well-trodden parts, where a short hike through the lengthening shadows of a darkening evening led to safety, supper and the shelter of home.

I didn't really realise until lately how imprinted I'd become on our fields and hills and ditches. It only sunk in when I started toying again with the process of outlining a Dungeons & Dragons scenario and I knew it could be a good one because I could "see" the main adventure area as a particular spot in a corner of our shared childhood. How strange, so many years on, to lift the imagination out, dust it off and find the mind's eye still focused on the hill running down to Hedge Camp, a hollow under an ivy-covered half-dead tree under which we loaded imaginary guns, choked on pilfered cigarettes, or shared out the spoils of pocket money swapped for brightly-wrappered sweets from Mrs. Elliot's shop.

This very week I can see the first cloudy images of a new back story hovering over the stunted wind-bitten grass of the old farmlands. The scene feels vivid enough to me, waiting as it does a few extra touches to change and explain the logic of the game that I hope to make of my first few frames of other-worldly action. The scenario is layering itself over my remembered landscape bit by bit. Sure, it won't look remotely like the physical geography of the place, but the feeling of stalking through the tussocks, dipping down to hide from the line of sight of war-game enemies, or rushing forth to shout out retorts of broom-handle WWII machine guns is still there.

If I can see it, it's generally a good one. I just hope the feeling carries on through. I think it will.

Wish me luck.

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