Class of ’64 is my sixteenth story to be published in The People’s Friend – in this week’s issue (dated 9 August 14).
I think it’s my favourite of all my PF stories as it was inspired by a time, many years ago now, when my mum and a school friend she hadn’t seen for fifty years had a reunion in my house. I brought them tea and cake and left them to it and they picked up exactly where they left off, judging by the gales of girlish giggles coming out of the sitting room.
I used that reunion as a starting point and invented characters quite unlike my mother and her friend to put into the situation.
My reunited friends are called Marianne and Kitty. I wanted their meeting to be observed through the eyes of a third person so I made up Emily, Marianne’s eighteen-year-old granddaughter, who ends up seeing her grandmother in a different light, as someone who still feels young inside. Then there’s Marianne’s husband (Emily is surprised when she finds out what her Grandpa’s nickname was when he was a lad) and he was inspired by someone I was at school with myself.
Jack London said: ‘You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.’ Well, he was that sort of guy.
I don’t find the getting inspiration bit difficult, quite the opposite – in fact, inspirations hit me with clubs and shout 'write about me'.
It's what comes next that's tricky. To paraphrase Thomas Edison: ‘Writing a story is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration.’ I just wish it was the other way round.