Inspiration comes from many sources. In these posts I explore inspiration in its broadest sense. To read the full post, click on the title link.
Old stone and vicious drops, cossetted by mist-clad hills. A robin’s song vibrating the trees and the moon peeking over the hill. Watching. Scarred wood and cosy crannies, walls seeping words. Blowsy blooms, secret doorways and the drift of seeds on the wind. This is Lumb Bank, an 18th Century mill owner’s house that once belonged to Ted Hughes. I’m here for a ‘work in progress’ Arvon writing course.
This post is about my experience of an Arvon residential course at Lumb Bank.
Every town has its abandoned places. Weed-choked, pigeon-haunted, windows toothed with shards of glass. These are the crumbling, forgotten parts of town, where graffiti blooms in shells of rooms, trees cleave foundations and girders grasp the sky.
This post is about abandoned buildings and how they can inspire.
I live in a land of ruins. A land where the shades of ancient monks, warriors and queens still walk among the remnants of their former homes. Coasts littered with fragments of castles; valleys and cliffs strewn with the wreckage of abbeys. Where crenelated towers and skeletal arches rise out of the earth.
This post explores the power that ruins have over our imagination.
The ash tree is a tall tangle of feathery limbs at the edge of the park. At some point, unnoticed, shoes began to stipple its branches, like peculiar fruits.
The post is about the way we use trees as a place for wishes and offerings.
Spring has daubed the landscape with splashes of yellow. Daffodils slowly blooming; a smattering of coltsfoot; the first marsh marigolds squatting in the mud and a handful of cowslips emerging from papery shells. But the blackthorn has been my true herald of spring.
This post is about the folklore and meaning of the blackthorn tree.
There’s a sense of comfort about the familiar walks that I take. I know where each path will lead and what I can expect to see on the journey. I know where I’m likely to find particular plants and animals and there is satisfaction in being able to mark their progress. But the adventure of the path not yet taken is altogether different.
This post shares some of the secrets I found when I visited Tocil wood.
‘She offered me distant cities, food that I had never tasted and the echo of words in alien tongues, but I chose terraced streets, white satin and packed lunches. I see her still, shivering in a print dress, the lake reflected in her eyes. ‘I could be your muse,’ she said, as I snapped the sketch book shut, capturing forever the hope and challenge in her face.’
This post is about remembering the child you were and using her for inspiration.
‘When I was young, I had time to write, time to draw, time to create. The hours passed slowly, bending to fit the things I wanted to do. There was no urgency or purpose – no deadlines, no pursuit of success. Creativity was a pastime, not a goal.’
This post explores the impact of time on creativity to coincide with the publication of my short story Reckoning in Popshot magazine.
‘I was delighted to be asked to become one of Britt Skrabanek’s posse of life enthusiasts over at ‘A physical perspective’. Britt is life enthusiasm personified so it’s an honour to be featured on her blog as part of this series. So, if you’d like to know my secret to staying enthusiastic about life, head over to Britt’s place and take a look at her wonderful writing while you’re there.’
This is a link to a guest post on Britt Skrabanek’s ‘A Physical Perspective’ blog, which talks about curiosity as the key to enthusiasm for life.
‘On this still, windless night the forest is silent. The trees watch, like inscrutable sentries. Moths flutter past silently, gossamer scraps pale against the darkness. Bats swoop soundlessly, dusky shadows whose voices are beyond our hearing. It seems that the creatures that stalk the night woods are mostly unseen and unheard.’
This post is about the magic of things heard and glimpsed in the night.
When I was a child, I was given a book about becoming a nature detective. By today’s standards for children’s books it was uninspiring: filled with dense text and black and white photos. Still, it captured my imagination and I longed to be able to track and investigate the natural world in the way the book described. But I was an urban child and I thought the experiences the book presented were out of my reach. I’ve always lived in towns and cities, while longing to inhabit the wilder places. I wish I could look out of my window and see open spaces instead of my neighbours’ houses. The sea has always been my local untamed place, while I believed that the town had little to offer in the way of nature. But years after I dreamed of being a nature detective, I’ve learned that even among brick and concrete, it’s possible to live the change of the seasons and to find the wild in the everyday.
This post is about finding nature, even in the most unexpected places.
As we approach Valentine’s Day, many of us will be thinking about and celebrating the people we love. It’s often our loved ones that are our greatest inspiration: inspiring us to be better, to work harder, to become the best person we can be. But usually, we need other things in our lives to love, so that we can be the person who is capable of loving another human being. So this year, as a Valentine’s gift to yourself, why not also remember the other things you love: the things you love to do the things that inspire you and the things that make you feel most alive.
This post is about remembering and celebrating the things we love to do.
The full moon tide reveals the hidden places of the island. Earth, moon and sun are in alignment, creating a ‘spring tide’, which is much lower than usual. But this isn’t spring. We are at the end of summer and this feels like the first autumn day of the year. Rocks loom out of the sea where there are usually none, forming lagoons from the reefs. The kelp forests, habitually invisible below the waves, peep above the surface like glossy ringlets.
This post is about how inspiration often comes when the hidden is revealed.
What will happen to the things you have created when you’re no longer on this earth? Perhaps your artworks will still be displayed in galleries, sold as prints or exchanged as greetings cards. Your books may still be sold in book stores, loaned from libraries, quoted by readers. Maybe your works will be kept simply as tokens, treasured by your children or grandchildren as a memory of you. Or they may be destroyed, turned to dust or landfill or recycled into something else.
This post explores what happens to the art that is created and forgotten.
A spider’s web is a mammoth effort of construction that begins with an act of faith. The spider starts by throwing out a delicate line of silk into nothing but air, in the hope that it will find an anchor. Once her hope is rewarded, her hard work begins.
This post is about the act of faith, followed by hope and hard work needed to bring a story or piece of art to fruition
I’m waiting for the moment when dusk tips into night. At dusk, clarity comes to the woods. Trees are sharply silhouetted against a luminous, milk-blue sky. Just after sunset, I can still distinguish the deep greens and grey-browns of the larger trees. The smaller, leafless trees appear black against the sky. There is still an ochre glow in the distance as the sun dies, but the moon has risen, waxing a vivid sliver towards the west.
This post explores the inspiration of the forest.
I recently celebrated a birthday and it prompted me to consider how creativity changes as we age. Many witches use the idea of the triple goddess to represent the phases of the moon and the different stages in women’s lives. The ‘maiden’ aspect is youth, independence, freedom, adventure, wildness and new beginnings. The ‘crone’ is old age, wisdom, knowledge, experience and compassion.
This post is about how our creativity changes as we age.
At the end of the north pier, where the river transforms into the sea, the fog horn dwells. Housed in a squat, brown lighthouse on the pier that took more than fifty years to build because the waves kept breaking it down, beyond the Black Midden rocks where so many ships saw their end; there the fog horn dwells.
This post is an exploration of fog as inspiration.
In the movie ‘It’s a wonderful life’, George Bailey says that the three most exciting sounds in the world are ‘anchor chains, plane motors and train whistles’. I agree completely with George’s sentiments and, although ultimately it’s an uplifting movie about being grateful for the life you have, I’m always struck by the tragedy that George is destined never to leave Bedford Falls.
This post is about how a journey and a story begins with an idea and how the reality changes on the way.
She is often viewed as a goddess of death, witchcraft and the underworld, but to me, Hecate is also a goddess of choice, courage and transformation. Hecate is with us for the most important moments of our lives: she is the midwife that brings us into life, the Crone who guides us into death and the protectress watching over every crucial choice we make. She is a triple goddess, representing the phases of the moon and the major stages in women’s lives. And she is a goddess of the in-between: of crossroads, gates, borders and boundaries. She holds torches to illuminate the unconscious, protects us on journeys and from the chaos we sense outside.
This post is about taking the first steps in blogging, my writing journey and having the courage to put yourself out there as a writer.