A bit of background to my new story, Grimoire.
It was born out of an idea I had a couple of summers ago, the notion of going against the flow, wandering into the heart of a city whilst others withdrew from it, and stumbling across a marvellous treasure. I knew immediately that the story would be written in the 1st person, with the narrator looking back, and that the treasure would obsess them to the point they would be compelled to steal it.
And then, I went on holiday, and all my wonderful ideas evaporated from my mind as it basked in the sultry summer sun.
But before that, I wrote them down.
Because, like the Chinese proverb says, the palest ink always outlives the best memory. Such is the power of the written word.
You do have a notebook don’t you? A repository for all those thoughts and fragments that burst spontaneously into your mind, unbidden, often when your mind is idling. Because the best ideas never come from staring at a page, or a screen, but by staring at the sky. Ideas are too precious to throw away, just because you’re busy…
And so my sketch for what would become Grimoire lay hibernating in my notebook for the next 18 months. During that time I dipped into my treasure trove several times, picking out nascent stories whose time I felt had come. Meanwhile essence of Grimoire lurked. Unrealised. Waiting for that vital spark of sorcery to give it life.
Then, about 2 months ago, I saw a challenge on the Library of Spanking Fiction inviting stories on the subject of theft. I dimly remembered that I’d once thought of a story with that very theme, but after scrabbling through the dusty back room that is my memory I failed to recall the details. And there the tale would have ended, had it not been for my notebook.
I’m not even sure where my notebook actually is. It’s about 50 pages long now, tiny really, one small virtual document, just one of billions held in a data centre somewhere. Perhaps it resides in an American desert, or a clearing in a frozen forest. Accessible through a very modern form of magic.
I searched the document for the word ‘theft’, but did not find what I was looking for. Then I tried ‘steal’. And there it was, the idea for Grimoire, as fresh as when I’d first imagined it. When I re-read my staccato list of sentence-length scenes the words buzzed with a seductive vibrancy. I knew then I had to breathe life into it.
It took me a further two weeks to write, edit and polish. The story grew in the telling. It evolved from the story of a crime to something more metaphysical, almost dream-like, a modern-day fairytale. Fellow fans of Borges may see echoes of his classic story The Zahir, though my story describes a subtly different obsession.
Days before the deadline I entered the story into the competition. A few weeks later I discovered it had won it. Which was very pleasing, because I think it’s one of the best stories I’ve ever written.
Incidentally, if you’re a member of the Library of Spanking Fiction, you should leave a comment, it’s always intriguing to hear readers’ thoughts.
And that is the story of how Grimoire came to be.
It’s a story of about the joy of reading, obsession and the power of words. I’m delighted so many have enjoyed it.
And when you read it too, I hope it provokes many vivid and arousing dreams…