Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Stoppard, cricket and ideas

An article in The Times drew my attention to this quote from Tom Stoppard's play The Real Thing. The playwright Henry holds up a cricket bat: “This thing here,” he says, “which looks like a wooden club, is actually several pieces of particular wood cunningly put together in a certain way so that the whole thing is sprung, like a dance floor.

“It's for hitting cricket balls with. If you get it right, the cricket ball will travel 200 yards in four seconds and all you've done is give it a knock like taking the top off a bottle of stout, and it makes a noise like a trout taking a fly. What we're trying to do is write cricket bats. So that when we throw up an idea and give it a little knock it might travel.”

What a marvellous allusion. I've noticed that gifted writers have this ability to take an idea and, with a perfectly turned phrase, 'give it a little knock..." so "...it might travel'.

I have a feeling I occasionally hit an idea over the boundary and into the long grass, never to be recovered.


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