Once again I'm snowbound, staring through the window at a white world. It has been gently falling all day and now it's mid-afternoon with no sign of stopping.
It's made me think about the power of the human imagination. I close my eyes and try to conjure up sunny Italy so I can write my novel convincingly. It's a stretch but it can be done.
Then I think about being snug and warm indoors while watching the world freeze outside, trying NOT to think about how it feels to be assaulted by driving snow, cold and numb while you're trudging through it.
I guess imagination is the first step towards compassion, imagining how others might feel in very different situations to one's own. As writers we need to have compassion for all our characters, not just the likeable ones. That's why I so admire some crime writers, like Val McDermid and Ruth Rendell, who manage to make their villains so human and understandable, that we can feel some sympathy for them.