by Simon Harley
It starts with a voice. I've never had an accent, and voices come easier to me than most- though I daresay if you're a native of a country or region I'm impersonating, you'd be rightfully horrified!
My ideas start with a character, an emotion they are feeling and a situation they are in. Sometimes it's over a song, a garment or a conversation. Sometimes it's over a place they are in- but always, there's the emotion, the voice in their head, the window to their soul.
I hear their voice, speaking thoughts and words they would never say, wondering what will happen, trying to make sense of it all or speaking a one-sided conversation as a prelude of things to come.
In the quiet of their thoughts, they are alone with themselves- their hopes, fears, dreams and passions laid bare for them, and only them to see. Naked in a beautiful light, cowering in a pitiless glare, their thoughts exposed to none but...them.
I watched my daughters play once, not long ago. Swinging on a rail in a shopping mall. I hoped they'd be okay- not in that moment, but for the rest of their lives- and before I knew it, my voice deepened in my mind, took on the drawl of a father watching his daughter- another life, a character, someone not me.
And so a story was born of a normal dad and his daughter.
And what happened to their story? It's still going on, but you know what? That story won a writing award.