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Treasures in the attic

Ever since I was a child, I’ve always loved exploring in the attic for old boxes full of letters, cards and little mementos.  I suppose this could become a thing of the past, thanks to the electronic age, but for me, nothing beats that musty old smell when you open up a long-forgotten shoe box (hopefully it doesn’t actually contain shoes!), stuffed with memories and little keepsakes you can’t bear to throw away.  As a writer, these little treasure hunts are priceless.

My new novel is based in France and during the editing process, I thought I would have my protagonist deal with some French bureaucracy.  I spent a year in France on an Erasmus exchange – I’ve always had a love of the language, the culture and the beautiful landscape – so I thought I’d dig up some of my old paperwork from that time.  Needless to say, I got no work done today!  I spent hours pouring over old photos, documents from my college, notes to friends (in fluent French – not sure I could do that now!) and contracts for my ‘stage’ or internship with Airbus.  It brought me right back to that time, how I felt arriving there as a foreigner, the cultural differences, the challenges I had, missing my family.  Opening that box of memories has given me lots of extra little ideas to ground my novel using those experiences.  

I found some old love letters up there too (cringe!) which will no doubt make it into another novel in the future.  Ah young love, it’s always so dramatic 🙂  Now all I need to do is find out how to break into other peoples’ attics and I’ll have inspiration for my writing for the next 30 years!

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3 thoughts on “Treasures in the attic

  1. Oh, secrets in attics…such a well of possibilities. I don’t have an attic here in NYC to store all my novel’s plot points and character’s backstories. Maybe that’s why I’ve been struggling with my story 🙂

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