Tuesday, 19 June 2012

I won an award!

A huge thanks to one of my lovely blog followers, P.C. Zick who has awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award today, you can find out more about the award here.

As part of it I have to tell the person who nominated me seven things about myself and nominate other blogs for the award, it's supposed to be 15 but I'm not that good at keeping up with lots of blogs so my list is a bit shorter than that, but here it is and they are all really great blogs:

I told you it was short! 

Now, seven things about me:

  • In the past 14 years I have lived in 9 different towns/cities (two of them twice) in two different countries and our friends call me and my husband, John, "urban gypsies"
  • We are just about to move again - from London to North Devon (had enough of the expensive, crowded and grimy city life)
  • I really like baking cakes (especially carrot cakes and ginger cakes, num nums) but hardly ever get enough time to do it
  • I have a ginger and white cat called Rusty
  • I've always wanted a dog but never had one, yet
  • I climbed a mountain - Mount Lodestone in New Zealand
  • One day I plan on learning to play the piano  

That's it. Now I'd like you all like to tell me seven things about yourselves as I'd love to know, because I'm really very nosy! 

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Landscapes in Literature

After emerging from weeks of studying for my exam for the Reading & Studying Literature module of my Open University degree, on my first free Saturday in ages I went to an exhibition at the British Library. I am obviously obsessed. 

Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands is all about the influence that the landscape has had on British writers, and it is a really great exhibition. Little frissons of excitement buzzed through me when I read handwritten first drafts and notes from the likes of Graham Greene, Kazuo Ishiguro and George Orwell, while the short film from Robert MacFarlane and Simon Armitage about their travel writing and poetry, and how it has been formed by their relationship with the land they live on, was truly inspirational. 

Separated into six separate kinds of landscape: Rural Dreams, Dark Satanic Mills, Wild Places, Beyond the City, Cockney Visions and Waterlands, the literature it looks at ranges from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, and so much inbetween. It set me to thinking about the landscapes that I've lived in and visited, and the influence they've had on my writing, and I realised it has been huge.

In the novel that I am currently working on many of the places I have lived in also feature in my character's life and I can see that what happens to her state of mind when she's in them is a reflection of how I feel when I am in the city, the wilds and the suburbs. Recently I spent a blissful week in a Fisherman's Hut in the peace and tranquility of Southwold in Suffolk, and the story ideas were flowing fast when my mind was freed from all of the stuff that clutters it up in my day-to-day life in London, all of them inspired by what I could see, smell and feel all around me. 

So, with that in mind, I do believe it's time to put the city life behind me and get myself back to a world of natural beauty, to start living some rural dreams and spending a lot more time in wild places.