I do find it easier to face what life throws at me in Dorset than in London.
The ancient landscape inspires and soothes me.
Yesterday, we made a visit to Chideock and Symondsbury - we climbed the iconic Colmer's Hill again.
I feel really privileged to live in such a beautiful county.
As I try to escape the worry created at Arcane HQ by the crazy Brexit situation, climbing up Colmer's Hill and other heights in Dorset always reminds me of the wise words in New Model Army's beautiful song "High"...
The movers move, the shakers shake, the winners write their history
Over the past few days, I have been very lucky to find some wonderful treasures in vintage/antique centres and car boot sales.
Some of those finds will be on sale on the Arcane Publishing stall at the various events we will attend.
But some, like the subject of this blog, will find its place in my personal collection of vintage/antique illustrated books.
I have a passion for illustrated books and if I bought all the volumes that have caught my eye, I would probably need my very own warehouse. I have seen a lot of books which were out of my reach because of the price. One day...
But this wonderful little volume, found in the gorgeous little antiques shop in Abbotsbury, was very cheap and I just couldn't put it back...
This is a very short story written in Danish, published by V. Pios Boghandel and dated 1920. This seems to be quite a rare little volume (only one listing found online HERE) but as I do not understand Danish, I cannot really tell you anything about it, other than it is utterly charming.
I haven't posted many "progress blogs" about my third novel The Right Place since February 2016. I do mention it from time to time on here, especially as I moved to Dorset, the county where the novel is set, in early 2017.
The truth of it is, a lot of things have been happening in "Real Life", including the whole selling/buying process, moving to the new house located 3 minutes' walk from the sea, going back to (supply) teaching after over 17 years away from the profession I had trained for in London all those years ago (and yes, it is ridiculously challenging!)...
I also got distracted by the landscape, the development of the Arcane bookselling venture (more on this in another blog), the organisation of the Winter Tales events, the books I have been reading, etc., etc.
And yes, I have basically been making excuses to avoid sitting down and resuming writing.
This summer, with the long holidays upon us, I have found the time to reflect on it and have come to the conclusion that I have been suffering from a curiously inflexible strain of the dreaded Writer's Block.
Whilst working on my two novels I Am a Muse and The Book of Thoth between 2010 and 2015, my discipline was second to none. I got the two books written, edited and published on my own newly created imprint, altogether a steep learning curve and exhilarating time.
In November 2015 and January 2016, I spent two months at Norburton Hall in Burton Bradstock planning and researching The Right Place and did a tremendous amount of work. It all came to a halt in February 2016 and this will of mine, that tremendous compulsion to write and bring a story to life all but disappeared...
but not quite...
I have been thinking about it, I have been dreaming about it. I have been worrying about how I would bring some characters together, how I would describe crucial scenes; how I would make the book atmospheric enough and express the peculiar sense of ancient history you get whilst walking around the Dorset landscape.
I have to admit that I have been gripped by the fear of not being able to write anymore, ever.
Then yesterday, I went and spent a couple of hours walking around Abbotsbury, firmly intent on only looking at the place through my fiction writer's gaze. I absorbed the landscape, let it talk to me. I opened my heart and mind to the stories told by the stones used to build St Catherine's chapel, and as I entered this very special place, the residual smell of incense reminded me of that scene early in The Right Place - and the last one I have written before becoming incapable to write - in which Kat wonders about the prayers and offerings left in the niches.
Yesterday, they were both full.
You can read an extract from the scene set in the chapel HERE.
"[...]What did ‘they’ – whoever they were – do with the messages? Was there a special cupboard in some dusty parish office where all those pieces of people’s hearts were deposited and locked away forever? Kat had imagined row after row of shelves on which were piled up hundreds, maybe even thousands of sad little boxes containing all the wishes and tokens received by St Catherine: some kind of archive of the heartache people had confided in the saint in the hope that the stones would take their wishes all the way to her divine ears. [...]"
My writer's block is no more and work has resumed on The Right Place, at long last!
Provisional pub date: (very) late 2020.
A few pictures taken yesterday, on the last day of August 2018.
I think therefore I write.
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