One week back to teaching and the mingled bugs of a thousand students have wormed their ways past my defences to give me a good old-fashioned cold. The red eyes, the streaming nose, the tissues and cough-sweet wrappers scattering from my pockets. It's not pretty.
But elsewhere, something has happened. On their way to attack mucous membranes and alveoli, the bugs seem to have unlocked doors in my head.
Two night ago, tired of sneezing and coughing, I turned the light out and lay down, in search of an early night. But instead of passing into a lemsip-induced coma as I wished, I found myself plotting parts of a new novel. This is the book that I intend to write for NaNoWriMo in November (more on this at a later date) and already I found small ideas and scenes coming together in my head. Unlike other late-night mental writings, I found these were still present in my mind the following morning, and I'm starting to look forward even more to my novelling month so I can get them down on paper.
And then, last night, with the cold at it's peak, and feeling as rough as I can remember in a while, once again my mind delved into my 'pending' file and started work on an idea that I've been toying with for a few years.
A couple of years ago, my friend Mike and I started to write a collaborative project set around the idea of multiple characters in a hotel. The result would be published on the web as a hypertext which allowed for navigation between characters and also a progression through time. It was a nice idea, and we wrote a few room's-worth of stories before it ground to a halt. Partly this was due to other things getting in the way, partly it was due to my not being able to work out how to structure the thing to make it work. Well, last night I found my brain pondering the problem again, and this morning I was able to sit down and write out the structure of the hotel and a series of rules for how it would work.
My next plan is to set the thing up and then invite other writers to come and take rooms in the hotel, to create a vast, online, collaborative story, using the power of hypertext to create a web of narrative. Not bad for a fever dream, eh?
So, today I'm feeling a little better, and part of me is slightly disappointed. Tonight I may well have a good night's sleep. What a loss that will be.