Last month, I found out about a short story competition that was asking for submissions under the theme of ‘bridges.’ This was open to interpretation, including physical, mental or symbloic bridges and I quickly realised that I already had an exisiting idea that could be reworked to include a bridge in the storyline. However, there was something disingenuous about this way of writing and I felt that I it would be more satisfying to try and come up with a new concept.
It was at a new exhibition at Bristol Museum that this happened. I was looking at photos from a project around ‘Harraga’; immigrants from Morocco and Africa who try to cross the Strait of Gibraltar to get to Spain. It was eye-opening to read about the situation and I realised that they were trying to cross a type of bridge.
I read up more about it, including first hand reports of children who live at the port of Tangiers, trying to make it across by hiding under lorries. I also discovered an insightful photo essay by Jan Sochor that helped to form a picture in my mind of the kind of environment these people are living in. From this, I forged a narrative about two boys who try to board a boat by hiding underneath a frieight lorry.
It’s been a satisfying process of creation and I thought it was worthy of noting down. Up until now, I have often relied on my imagination to conjure up storylines, often with much difficulty, but believing that the most interesting or unusual scenarios would ultimately come from there. However, basing my idea on real events, especially on a current social issue, is not only fulfilling, but ultimately connects my efforts with the wider world as opposed to just my own thoughts. It’s something I’ll be considering when it comes to future ideas.