Tuesday 15th May
There is no doubt that I am a changed person. I feel different. I put that down to my meditation practice and my faith as both help me to see things differently. The boys and Pete had their first tennis match of the season and I would normally be with them but my body is saying 'no' at the moment. A year ago I would have struggled with that but my response today was quite different.
The day began with tea in bed and a chance discovery on my ipad. It probably wasn't a chance discovery as it was the result of some excellent social networking connections that always come good. This one was from Lucy at Eigg box which is a project I will be writing about in July and August. The link took me to a site sharing details of a writer's retreat. I always look at such things but I always fail to make a connection and it gets ruled out pretty quickly. I would say that the Hebridean location was the connection but that would not quite do it. It was the content of the retreat that evoked a real reaction and made me want to book a place immediately. I have talked before about my love of writing on location and using this formula to connect with nature. This retreat promises to take this work forwards and I am very excited about the prospect. As a writer you have to invest in the process from time to time and this retreat takes place in a years time so would be perfect. As I was mulling it over I clicked on the link to the writer's magazine Earthlines and before I knew it I was subscribing and letting my tea go cold while I read. I read and I read and something shifted in the way I saw my writing and that can only ever be a good thing.
As many of you know my personal writing guru is Waverly Fitzgerald who lives and work in Seattle in the US. In the US 'nature writing' is very well established. It is less established here both now and through history. The exceptions to this are, of course, memorable like Dylan Thomas and Thomas Hardy but here we are into fiction. Earthlines tries to do something different as it encourages its writers to tell stories of the Earth that help readers reconnect with the natural world. That being the case the obvious conservation and ecological credentials remain high.
To date my nature writing has been more of a creative interpretation of place and space but I feel that Earthlines could help lead me into a deeper pool of narrative that is even more connected with place. I was an academic for ten years having completed a masters degree and, if I am honest, I have rather turned my back on all that. I found so much of it pretentious and, ultimately, quite shallow. Some of it even lacked integrity but the best bits of that life remain with me. I have rather locked these bits away and maybe this is the time to start opening them up again as writing tools as I begin an altered writing journey. This journey is not for here as this is a personal blog and I am very clear what that is in my mind. It is a place for musings and reflection and never pretends to be anything different.
I will talk to my family about the writing retreat but I suspect it is a done deal.....
All this happened before the aborted tennis match so I took myself off to photograph an area of Brodick I have not been in before. Walking along the beach you come to a bridge which takes you into water meadows. The tennis match had left me as I opened my eyes to what my limited camera lens could show me. If I talk about my limited camera enough on this blog I might persuade my family to buy me one of those important looking cameras.
Even with my little camera the landscape looks stunning and that bridge so needed crossing as did the bank need sitting on. I absolutely lost time while I took in all the emerging wildflowers and wondered just why someone would dump an ironing board in a beautiful little burn.
Trying to ignore the ironing board and sitting very still the bees began to return to the flowers and then along came the butterflies. Nothing connects me to nature more than the flying insects as I watch their purposeful flitting. I am pleased to see more and more food bursting open for them as it has been a tough spring for them so far.
So the tennis match went on and I sat and lived in the moment and that is how I feel different. I am still a planner and I suspect I always will be but now I have learnt to live in the moment. I have slowed down and try very hard not to rush anywhere or anything. I also try not to multi-task as I don't think that is good for the soul.
I will be dipping my toe into a more academic loaded style of writing over the next year and see where that takes me. I have no real expectations so that is probably a good thing.
Today has been a day of discovery and connections and I do feel a little blessed. I didn't miss the tennis and I will be there on the next game so they had all better watch out. I am a half decent tennis player and I love nothing more than beating all the boys. I can't beat Harry anymore but that still leaves Max, George and, of course, Pete!
Perhaps the biggest joy of the day met me when I came home. No, it wasn't my noisy neighbour with his noisy tool, although that was present, it was these little girls......
I told you there were coming and they have arrived in all their glory. Now begins the tasks of converting all their ear tag numbers to names and persuading them we are not monsters. Best keep my naughty dog, Lottie, away then.
Until tomorrow. xx
PS You just know I want to live on that boat at the top of the post....xx