Let’s suppose, for the sake of argument (because I do love argument), that I write some short stories that pivot on actual incidents from my own life.
For example, tales from the 53 bus, the routemaster bus – along with the N53 and the 54 – that travels through south-east London to Trafalgar Square. The linking theme here would be race.
Or the curious incident in Fez, Morocco. Theme: state repression, terrorism and the clash of North African and Western cultures.
Or something about the poison of gossip, running like mercury through corridors in glamorous West End offices. I’m thinking of the First Emperor, in Ch’in, whose tomb – legend has it – is lethally protected by a moat of mercury.
Or something about a cat that died. Make that two cats. Maybe four. No cat death should go unremarked.
Maybe something about families where children’s names and pets’ names constantly get mixed up. Or perhaps it’s not a cat who died but instead a father.
Maybe something about disorientation and over-stimulation in a megametropolis? Being lost? Being scared?
Lots of places to start.
Second: how to change the POV. The protagonists might be someone else who witnessed or participated in those episodes. Someone actual or fictional. Or it might be me only older, or younger, than I was at that time. Or me as I might have been had my history then been other than it was.
Lots of places to go.
An image of a black cat crosses my mind. Heading somewhere I might follow … ?