I'm back from my travels. And I know that some people will be waiting for me to write about the mountains and jungles of Ecuador, and the astonishing islands of the Galapagos. After all, that's what I do, isn't it - go walkabout and then come home to write a book.
If only it were that easy. But 'woman has wonderful time in Ecuador' isn't a story. I can flesh that out a bit - 'woman stays in a lodge in the jungle, climbs a volcano, stays in an old city or two, potters round a market, flops about on a beach and then spends a week on a boat in the Galapagos' isn't really a story. Indeed, I can feel you glazing over as you trawl down that list and then you'll see my point. It's not that hard to write about what I did. But finding a thread that holds it together in a narrative that takes it beyond a written version of your neighbours' holiday snaps, that's the hard bit.
I did meet some interesting people, so that helps. And I had the odd close encounter with wild things - a tarantula and a shark - that made my heart beat fast for a while. The volcano is now erupting, so that is something to think about. But those are all scenes. I need to find the story.
Sometimes I wonder if fiction writers have it easier. For instance, I'm sure someone could weave an adventure around this chap:
Or how about her:
Of this pair of dancing boobies:
I have hundreds of photographs, and am almost ready for a grandchild to climb on my knee. Are we sitting comfortably, then I'll begin. Once upon a time there was a tortoise called Tabitha ...
But only my grandchildren listen to my short story efforts. Outside the family, I'm known for my travel writing. And right now I can't see the story of this trip. Maybe it is hiding behind all those pictures. Maybe it's time to put a lock on my iPhotos and allow the diaries - which are overflowing with words - to come out to play. There must be a story lurking somewhere.
If you want more pictures, or more travelling stories, you can find them on my website: http://jocarroll.co.uk