(back in September this year)
I have spent the past week hidden away in my house, resting from a testing four months and preparing to re-emerge on the other side ready to face a new year - a year of writing, hopefully.
I am absolutely determined to make progress on my third novel, The Right Place (one of the reasons is that I am very excited about my FOURTH novel and want to start working on it as soon as possible!) and there's nothing better than actually spend some time walking around the location of your book to fire up your imagination...
Yesterday was a glorious day in Dorset and made me reflect on the quasi-magical quality of the landscape around Abbotsbury. This is the location of my third novel and these are the paths and roads taken by my characters.
One can lose him/herself in this landscape, take in the layers of history and forget about the world - even though some of the issues developing in front of our eyes will have an impact on our personal lives and prey on our minds daily. I need to get back to my book more than ever these days.
I have been looking for inspiration everywhere this first week of holiday, and I have indeed found plenty of it around...
I had been looking for a house for Joe's family (Joe is best friend to Kat, one of my main characters). As Kat lives at the very start of Grove Lane in Abbotsbury, I have decided to give the Hardings the very last cottage in the road before you get to the Swannery. Isn't it fabulous? I will add a big outbuilding/barn in which Joe's disreputable brother Henry has made his "den".
On the left: The Coast Path beyond the Abbotsbury Sub-tropical Gardens (which will also feature in The Right Place) is beautiful - you walk along Chesil Beach until you reach West Bexington...
On the right, the view whilst walking up towards St Catherine's Chapel - looking down towards the swannery (and the Isle of Portland, where our HQ is located, in the background).
For more stunning pictures of this walk, see Matt ArtPix's BLOG.
As I have been writing so many times in this blog, St Catherine's Chapel plays a key role in The Right Place.
Of course, I paid a visit to the little sturdy building on the hill yesterday, just as I did back in September.
The niches were not as full as three months ago (see my blog about my September visit to the chapel HERE) but someone had left a big picture, a letter and a glass of white wine in one of the recesses...
The inside of the chapel, which is a location for many of the key scenes in The Right Place, was as atmospheric as ever...
From Arcane Publishing's next publication to PJ Harvey's music...
Yesterday evening, I was browsing Ms Harvey's website and watched a few of the films and videos featured on her website... I was delighted to find out that the Isle of Portland, where our HQ is located, features in a few of the videos - especially for the All and Everyone track out of the Let England Shake album (2011).
We can even spot the Arcane Publishing HQ in the video! Watch the video below...
Talking about the Isle of Portland, the beautiful Pennsylvania Castle will feature prominently in the film Happy New Year, Colin Burstead which will be shown on BBC2 this Sunday. It boasts a great cast and stunning location... which is about 10 minutes' drive from our HQ! We cannot wait to watch it...
Inspiration from Cathi Unsworth and Kate Mosse: my reading so far these holidays. They remind me of why I have become a writer and have really inspired me these past few days...
And finally... Keep an eye out for announcements on the Arcane Publishing website...
We will start booking events for 2019 very soon and will post the dates on the events page as usual!
Next weekend, which will be the first weekend of December, Matt ArtPix and Arcane Publishing will be sharing a stall at the Vintage Christmas event at the Tank Museum in Bovington, Dorset.
Go the ARCANE BLOG for a glimpse of the lovely stock I will bring to the event!
VINTAGE CHRISTMAS AT THE TANK MUSEUM
Saturday 1st December
Sunday 2nd December
10am to 17pm
The Tank Museum,
You can get more info and buy tickets HERE.
I was back in London on Saturday to see the mighty Killing Joke play at The Roundhouse in Camden.
We had a few hours to kill beforehand and went to check whether Portobello market was still standing - I am very pleased to say that yes, indeed, the stalls and second-hand shops are still there and the area still looks beautiful and buzzing!
While there, I was chuffed to find a copy of Cathi Unsworth's first novel The Not Knowing (the main character, like the author, lives in Ladbroke Grove, so entirely relevant to our day... And I urge you to read it, I do find it hard to put it down; Cathi captures the atmosphere of a certain 90s London (music, art, alternative cultures...) perfectly.)
Incidentally, 40 years ago, Ladbroke Grove was also the haunt of the future members of Killing Joke and the backdrop to the band's genesis, and therefore, it felt kind of special to spend a few hours there before seeing the band live.
Matt ArtPix has written a blog himself about our trip to London, read it HERE.
Things are going extremely slowly for The Right Place and its publication date has proved to be near on impossible to firm up... My creative process has been rather stunted of late.
Go and have a look over at the Arcane Publishing website where my book selling venture is still going strong!
I hope to be able to post a few updates about my plans for next year on here soon.
This Saturday 10th November, Matt ArtPix and Arcane Publishing will be back at the rather fab Vintage Somerset fair at Wells' Town Hall!
This time, instead of sharing a stall as we usually do, Arcane and ArtPix will have their own stall and Arcane will have a table full of great books: second-hand, vintage, ephemera and of course our special bundles containing copies of I Am a Muse and The Book of Thoth!
Here's a preview of the stock I will bring to the fair on Saturday!
Early autumn has been a bit of a challenge at ArtPix and Arcane towers, and in the midst of it all, we seem to have forgotten to pause and look around us: we moved to Dorset to explore the countryside and find inspiration, but the pull of "real life" has been stronger than anything else lately and we have not spent as much time as we'd wished walking around the stunning countryside of our newly adopted county.
Yesterday marked our return to "nature proper" and we have promised ourselves that we would allow more time to discover the landscape and history of Dorset this autumn and winter. There is still so much to see!
Dorset is a county like no other, and its landscape bears the marks (or scars?) of its history. Everywhere you go, and provided you possess a modicum of imagination and curiosity, you will stumble across something that will take you back hundreds (if not thousands) of years, will stimulate your imagination and creativity - sometimes, these will be man-made - at other times, it will be Nature itself, with all its beauty, danger and mystery...
So yesterday, we made our way to Black Down - a treeless, moody view point dominated by the austere Hardy Monument, a local landmark erected in 1844 in memory of Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy (he participated in the Battle of Trafalgar, and Nelson died in his arms...). Up there, the views are stunning - although yesterday, unfortunately, the sky was dreadfully overcast... A warning for today's rain...
A lot of work had been happening on Black Down and it was really good to see how the landscape is being managed in order to maintain a healthy wildlife.
One way to manage the heathland on the Down has been the introduction of a stunning herd of Belted Galloway cattle. I call them the "Art Deco" cows: look at them! Aren't they amazing? The "Beltie" really is a gorgeous breed: their coat is thick and fluffy with extremely distinctive markings. They are growing in popularity and have their very own website HERE!
A new feature on Black Down is a new visitor car park and picnic area, complete with a fantastic work of art inspired by the ancient history of the place (more of which later).
For me, anything that celebrates ancient rituals and beliefs, strange natural phenomenons and "the eeriness of the English countryside" can only be a welcome asset to an area literally covered in reminders of dark and ancient times... Indeed, the South Dorset Ridgeway is called "The Land of Bone and Stone" (a fantastic title for a novel or an album, it hasn't escaped me, believe me!), due to the sheer number of Bronze age burial mounds, Iron age hill forts and other remnants of ancient history. It is very easy there to feel removed form the modern world and find oneself walking an ancestral landscape seemingly untouched by the ravages of so-called civilisation. What a place to be a writer...
Dorset seems to have acquired a new stone circle... A contemporary work of art by artist and architect Amanda Moore, the Black Down Stone Circle: five "totems" made of local Forest Marble stone with a Portland stone in the middle. One of the totems is aligned with the north and the other four with the midwinter/midsummer solstice sunrises and sunsets.
There is a multitude of paths to explore, taking in the stunning views of stretching to the sea... I will probably need to go back on a sunny, clear day to take pictures of the 360 degree views as yesterday was not a clear day!
The video below shows you the breathtaking beauty of the area.
Personally, I would have chosen a much darker, haunting and epic soundtrack...
Enjoy those very Halloween-ey videos by two of my favourite bands!
We often go to Lulworth Cove out of season as it is so close to our house; we have quite a few favourite places around there - including the range walks which are only opened at weekends, and yesterday, we discovered yet another one: Britwell Drive. We had often wondered about the big houses half-hidden behind their thick hedges on the bit of land jutting out into the sea (Dungy Head)... One of them, "Weston", is the only house in Dorset designed by Sir Edward Lutyens. And if, like me, you are into classic cinema, you will love the fact that apparently, Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh spent the first night of their honeymoon there in 1940...
As I am currently looking for inspiration for my third and fourth novels, I absorb small details like a sponge, and Britwell Drive provided me with a few ideas...
We will most certainly go back there over the autumn/winter as Dungy Head is the ideal vantage point from which to admire an angry sea...
"Stair House" (or the little bits I could see of it) has really caught my eye and will most certainly end up in my fourth novel, the Rural Noir novel Hell Lane. I am already using the OId Vicarage in Chaldon Herring as one of the main locations of the book, but it's always good to have a few extra options...
As fans of art deco, we couldn't help but drool over this fantastic property (called "Oswald", I guess after St Oswald's Bay which it overlooks...)
Imagine writing your novels in this conservatory, whatever the weather... There's nothing else but the sea in front of you... And no risk of any dreadful estate being built and spoiling your view!
I'll certainly be reporting from Britwell Drive again soon!
I will be back soon!
In the meantime, do check out the next ArtPix/Arcane Publishing events HERE.
I think therefore I write.
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