‘Xanadu’ – #AtoZ Challenge


(Okay, not anything to do with writing really, but I was struggling with X!)

When I was 16, I entered the sixth form at school. We were given our own teaching block and certain privileges such as listening to music on a record player, as that was the way we did it back then!
Xanadu by Olivia Newton John was one of the first songs that was played and it continued to be played throughout the year as everyone loved it. The song was old even then but it resonated with me. I found it so beautiful and positive and it made me believe that anything was possible. I found school quite difficult as I was living in my head a lot (I still am to a certain extent!), and this song connected with my hidden feelings.

The dictionary definition of the word, ‘Xanadu’ is ‘an ‘idealised place of great or idealised magnificence or beauty‘ so for it me it expressed a sense of ultimate possibility. I listened to the song just now and remembered exactly how I used to feel back then.

The reason I have chosen this word in connection with writing, is really to stress the importance of memories. For ‘D’ I talked about the diaries I’ve written over the years and how they’ve helped and are helping me with my writing now, and this is because they contain memories, many of which I would have forgotten otherwise. Those memories that haven’t been forgotten such as listening to Xanadu as a shy teenager can be used years later in stories or novel scenes. Nothing that has happened is wasted.

For the last couple of weeks I was taking a flash fiction workshop with Kathy Fish. For one of our assignments we had to intersperse dreams we’d had with actual events. It was a wonderful exercise as they all seemed to merge and you ended up with a kind of hypnotic mosaic of a story. I really suggest that you try this – it brought up a lot of things I thought I’d forgotten.

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