The Tree of Ideas

In recent weeks I’ve been tempted to pitch a tent under the tree in Regent’s Park where I’ve had some of my best plot ideas in the past. I don’t mean I’ve sat cross-legged under this tree like a Hindu sadhu, waiting patiently for enlightenment. For one thing, I can’t sit cross-legged; for another, ideas haven’t floated down from the tree while I wait under it, because I haven’t ever had to wait. Ideas have always just miraculously appeared in my head as I pass the tree on one of my usual walking routes, even while I’ve kept an eye on my heart rate and fiddled for the umpteenth time with my iPod ear buds. 


I’ve flirted with theories about this piece of continuing good fortune. Maybe I’m in the zone by the time I get to the tree, and the ideas are a factor of blood pressure. Or the tree represents my own private but previously unacknowledged happy place. Or it’s a ley line crossing point. Or … 


Whatever the explanation might be, I’ve been in need of good plot ideas this month. Last December I finished a rough version of the new book, but I needed help to see what still needed to be done. A very dear friend read the typescript for me and made immensely helpful comments – and Jon, you know who you are and how grateful I am for that – but responding to them hasn’t always been easy.  Hence my hopeful circling of the Regent’s Park tree, and my idea of staying under it in a tent, with my laptop running, ready to tap in whatever ideas float down. But you know what? Apart from anything else, it’s too darn cold out there. As in, very cold indeed. And so – and although I don’t want to be even momentarily ungrateful to the Ideas Tree – I would rather it was this one.



That’s from a new book of photos that Graham Beattie mentioned on his book blog a while ago – a beautiful old pohutukawa that grows somewhere in the Hauraki Gulf in New Zealand. And it’s summer there now, and I can think of nothing nicer than walking past this tree and maybe pausing, and switching off my iPod, and just looking out at the incomparable view. 


But even so, maybe that wouldn’t be nicer than finally getting this book right. Wish me further luck with the Ideas Tree! 


One Response to “The Tree of Ideas”

  1. helena Says:

    It’s amazing whan you can find when you trawl the net. Long, long ago when Graham Beattie was a bookseller in Napier, I worked in the shop and loved it. Thanks for the blog link, I’ll chalk it up for regular reading.

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