I have been doing a lot of reflecting lately; remembering fond memories from long ago, and reviewing the last few years.
When I cast my mind back to the way I was thinking and acting a few years ago, I feel as if I am a completely different person now. I’ve come a long way – not just in terms of where I physically am in life, but also with my mindset. I’m more confident than I was a few years ago, although I do still suffer with the occasional setback. Still, I am on the whole a much more confident person than I have ever been.
Despite the fact that I’m happier being the person I am today, I wish that I could be transported back to my childhood, if only for a day. If I was somehow able to travel back in time, I would revisit one of the holidays that my dad took me on as a child.
The vast majority of our family holidays were spent in North Wales. In a caravan in Rhyl, when I was very small, and then renting a bungalow in Deganwy (close to Llandudno) when I was a bit older.
But there were a few occasions when my dad and I travelled to the south of England, just the two of us. The longest period that we spent down there together was when I was about 12, and we spent around a week in Kent. My dad’s cousin lived in Dover, and so we would stay with her in her house close to the town centre.
The specific time that I’m thinking of was probably the best holiday I’ve ever been on. My dad took me to a new place every day. We visited Dover Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, and a sculpture park called Druidstone, to name only a few.
It’s funny how no matter where you are in life, there are certain memories that bring you comfort. Whenever I am missing my dad now, all I have to do is think back to the Kent holiday we enjoyed together, and it’s as if I am transported back to that time, spending the days with him once more.
Indeed, it is the strongest, warmest memories that influence me the greatest. Sure, I have experienced many dark, dark days, and of course these less favourable memories haunt me from time to time. But the positive memories are much more powerful. They resonate with me far more, because their impact on me as a person is profound.
Memories are some of the greatest influences for writing fiction. So many of my characters are based on, or at least informed, by people I’ve known in the past. I’m certainly not unique in that sense, as most writers would claim the exact same to be the case; but my experiences are unique to me, and therefore my fictional characters are unique to me also.
Some people have come and gone from my life and had very little impact on my memories, and then, conversely, there are strangers that spoke to me for a only few minutes, and yet I remember their words as if they’d been spoken only yesterday.
It’s fascinating to me that every single human being that does – or has ever – walked the Earth has their own unique, complicated story to tell. Full of ups and downs; heroes and villains.
When you cross paths with a stranger, it is as if two protagonists from completely different novels have encountered each other.
When people are a part of your family, your novels are intrinsically linked. You are their supporting character, and they are yours.
There is so much inspiration to be found in life, simply by walking around with your eyes open and your ears actively listening. And I’m not solely talking about inspiration for writing fiction. Every day has the possibility to inspire you to take action, or simply to sit back and reminisce.
I will cherish the memories I have already, and venture forth to make many more.
Good people have had an immensely positive impact on my life. Above all else, I want to be a positive influence in the lives of others.
If there was one lesson my dad taught me, and one lesson only, then it was this: If you influence someone in a profoundly positive way, they will remember it forever.