It’s strange when inspiration unexpectedly strikes and where it comes from. Facebook, for example. I saw a post showing a clip for a documentary about the Glen Canyon in America that had been flooded in the 1950s to create a reservoir. It was the importance of the place that struck me. A team of three had saved ancient pots and wall paintings that people that had long ago moved away had left behind. Apart from the interesting salvage mission, the film captured how the three felt about the place. The greed and thoughtlessness of the people who had wrecked the canyon and its life of plants and animals and fish and its history and beauty are one side of the coin, the other is the joy and friendship of the people during their time there. The place was magical, it meant something to them.
This made me think about place and why and how we become attached to it. Many return to where they were born or brought up, drawn to it or a similar landscape. Why is that?
And so to the Coty book that I’m writing, Tessa, the main character is drawn not to a place she knows, but a place she belongs. And the ending of the book, that never felt right, has fallen into place. That Eureka Moment when it all makes sense. Place. Tessa goes where she belongs and it’s the right ending! Thanks for that video clip. And now the painful work of editing on the computer. Agh. But I have the ending! Thanks Facebook.


Hopefully the only rejection of 2016

Just received this email from Agent Jane –

Dear Jane,
Thank you very much for sending me Jiddy Vardy and I’m sorry for having taken so long with it. There is some really evocative, lyrical writing here and I was intrigued by the story, but I’m afraid that we are finding this sort of historical fiction extremely difficult to sell at the moment and I can’t see enough of a market for this. I wish that weren’t the case. But for now I will have to pass.


So, is Historical Fiction a No-no at the moment?

Ah well, still other publishers to hear from, hopefully they find there is a market for it. I think there is, in fact, I know there is. And at least I got some feedback.

Integrating needs, wants, commitments, living in and with the world.

2015 has been about leaving my comfort zone, writing away in my pink little room upstairs in my house by volunteering at The Portico Library, a wonderful gem of a place that hosts a wide range of events, inspires young people, houses changing art exhibitions, a cafe and can be hired out. Most importantly, it is about books: treasured, precious mainly Georgian and pre-Georgian books that it restores and shelves in a safe environment where they can be used by research students and looked at under the guidance of librarians. I volunteered to learn about their cataloging system, their history and have given one tour, learnt how to update databases, print up and assemble booklets, re-shelve and help out at events. I did this because I’d lost confidence, couldn’t get a job and needed experience and working with others again.

Driving all the way from Manchester to Drum Camp near Bungay, Suffolk in Doris, my camper van, to volunteer in the Catering Tent for a free ticket was about going to an event entirely on my own. There was only one moment when it would have been easier to stay comfortable and safe in Doris, but I forced myself to go to one of the evening shows when I wasn’t sure about it. It was the best night. Thank you Gemma Smith for saying hello and dancing the night away. And to the brilliant Sophie and Bryony who organised the catering and the volunteers who became friends in a few days. If I hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t have met you.

The year has also turned out to be a creative year, with the children’s books on art and the Ruthie-Tuti skirts, not to mention the novel writing and gaining an Agent!!! So, so good to feel there is someone in the business who has got your back. No news yet on Jiddy Vardy, but Agent Jane is giving it her all to find a publisher. Of course I’m impatient, I’m so tired of the waiting game, but she is also an adviser and with marketing in mind, I am working on historical fiction and so re-writing the Coty book – Perfume is sexy after all. And research has also begun on the Cuban Orishas story which I’m excited about. And being an anthropologist, Agent Jane has studied the Yoruba tribe who brought their religion from Africa to Cuba….see how it ties in? Another trip to Cuba this year for dance and writing, two wonderful, wonderful passions.

So, moving on… this is all about my wants, but has it fulfilled needs? Not yet, I’m not positive of the needs but they are hovering. I write stories. Stories have characters and characters have wants and needs. In 2016, it’s also about what do other people need?

There have been wars, people fleeing wars, there have been floods, hurricanes, drilling into the earth, being told how to live by people who don’t know how you live. What do people need? What does the earth need?

This is the question for 2016, individually and communally. Let’s get to it.