Chaos at the Car Boot and the Magic of Random by Pauline Chandler
Parents, teachers, friends and casual acquaintances have, over the years, noticed how untidy I am, and failed, with all their well-intentioned comments, to change me. I LOVE chaos. I do! I’m averse to order and routine, especially that imposed by other people. I dislike plans and ‘organised’. It feels anti-life. By the side of my armchair, my nest, is my ‘pile’ of stuff. Books, notebook, diary, address book, photo albums of my grandchildren, sweets, aspirins, knitting, the stuff of me.
Are all writers the same? To begin with my books are extremely chaotic, a jumble of scraps and fragments, random sentences.
I guessed it was for uncorking a large barrel of wine. I was wrong, but I make no excuse. It turned out to be a hook to screw into the ground when camping, to which you can tether the dog. Isn’t humanity wonderfully inventive?
Car boot banter is entertaining too. This week I overheard one chap say to another , ‘You’re looking affluent,Ron.’ To which came the reply, ‘Effluent? Yes, I’m full of it!’
Then there was my flower lady, who, whatever the weather, and the lack of trade, sets out her stall with pot after pot of spectacular plants in an explosion of colour. I admired some two-colour antirrhinums and she took me to one side, with a gesture towards the door of her caravan, where her old man sat smoking a cigar. ‘They’re beautiful, aren’t they? I want some o’ them, I’ve got just the place for ‘em, but ‘e not let me ‘ave ‘em. ‘E says ‘After, ’ by which she means after the car boot, if the plants don’t sell. Characters and stories. Wonderful random.
Creativity is a mystery. All I know is that for me, it doesn’t happen without chaos, where the best ideas come as surprises. They usually pop up when my mind is neutral, floating, wandering, drifting like a bee among flowers. Aah.
Let me share my best random find of the week. I had run out of new books to read – oh no! - so I looked along my book shelves, to start again on some old favourites. What I found was a book I’d not read before, ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ by Mary Ann Schaffer . If you’ve not read this one, do try it. It’s enchanting, horrific, funny, tender and moving, by turns. I loved it. The book tells the story of author, Juliet, who visits
Guernsey to research the experiences
of the islanders during the Nazi occupation of World War II. It’s a fascinating story.
Wishing you many random moments of joy from the chaos!