Weaver of dreams...
... for Knots in the String...
I had planned a newsletter about being a writer – a weaver of dreams. Because that’s what I do – write about dream lives – be it fantasy or historical fiction.
Here’s me, a writer with a backlist that has sold here and there through the years, who loves writing a good yarn, and I just don’t want to talk about being a writer.
Not because I don’t enjoy my work. Goodness! It’s the stuff of dreams! But so many of my favourite writers have talked about writing – Bernard Cornwell immediately springs to mind. He has a brilliant earthy wisdom and I could listen to him for hours. But I have nothing new or different to impart and people like BC are giants of the artform.
Instead, I’d rather write about the day that just passed, or the day before that or even the day to come.
The sand I trod this week further up the coast was a coarser white sand than we’re used to. Ours is fine and squeaks as one walks, but the water here and there is the same crystal aqua. Even as the waves skirl along the shore, one can see through the prism of the ocean to behind the wave break. It’s the most beautiful sight – like looking along a viridian tunnel. As though I’m being allowed to see something intensely private. Like the tiny view behind private garden walls. A secret world – a world woven of dreams.
The terrier, my husband and I climb over rocks with limpets, barnacles and blue periwinkles beneath our feet, the rocks grey dolerite with splashes of vibrant orange. We find clear rock pools. I want to study every little crevice in the pools to see what life exists but see nothing beyond Neptune’s Necklace seaweed (popper bead weed), a few Cushion Seastars and Red Waratah sea anemones which turn inward like a maiden hiding her face from her lover.
Giant kelp lies along the beach and I’m reassured.
When I was young and used to take the clinker-built tender off the stern of my grandfather’s motor yacht, I would row over thick forests of kelp, wonderful obscure hideaways for the myriad fish we had on the coast then. Flashes of white sand appeared as the kelp swayed back and forth in the current, as quickly disappearing. Magic and dream filled. I used to imagine all sorts of myths happening in the watery world beneath.
But kelp collection became an industry, our coast was stripped bare, the ecology changed, more and more fishing reduced our native fishstocks and now we must be vigilant that the marine life is allowed to recover.
Meanwhile, my dog just wants to examine the waves frothing at the rock edge. He stands and watches for an age, listening, cocking his head and I ask myself what he sees and hears, even smells that I can’t.
Does he know the answer to the tick-tick language of the under-sea?
He slept like a baby on my knee on the way home in the ute. Whatever he saw and heard acted like a sedative and with a Jack Russell, that’s no mean feat!
So you see, I want to write about things other than my fiction-writing life. Maybe I’m good at compartmentalising – who knows? If the odd word or two written here about enjoying life encourages people to look, to see and to rejoice, then I’m content.
I’ve also purchased oatmeal linen and a book of designs by the eminent embroiderer Betsy Morgan, with the idea I will try to stitch one of her pieces. Even though I’m not at all scared of writing novels of 110,000+ words and watching them released upon the reading world, I’m terrified of tackling this piece ‘cos I’m not a cross-stitcher. More in the future…maybe…
I’ve sat back and watched my garden move through early summer and delighted in the thickness of the tree foliage, of the long grasses and flowering weeds in my ‘wilding’ trial patch – there are bugs, moths and beetles that I’ve never seen before so it might be an experiment worth repeating.
Writing. The fantasy grows in enjoyable length and complexity:
The quaint craft with its upturned prow floated swiftly from the cave and into a grim, foggy light. For all she knew, there may even have been no sea beneath the vessel as there was no sound, no slapping of wave against strake, no veil of spray as the bow broke through the swell…
And I want to know why oh why I’m finding a pas de basque so hard to do at ballet? I feel cross-wired.
Via audio: Finished Graham Norton’s Forever Home. His grasp on the suburban Irish, let alone the machinations of same sex relationships and the emotions of dementia are pinpoint perfect. I can recommend his work – there’s a biting clarity to it.
Now listening to Richard E. Grant’s With Nails. His voice alone is enough but thus far, he’s also brutally honest about life at the time of casting and filming Withnail and I.
On Kindle – The Ringmaster’s Daughter by Carly Schabowski. I had already read The Watchmaker of Dachau which I enjoyed immensely. Set during WWII.
Desperate Measures. I wasn’t sure in the first few moments, but it was pacy, solidly cast and acted and we binged it right through. If I had any grouch, it was the persistent background music designed to increase tension. So unnecessary!
Spooks. Still brilliant! But much darker, and honestly Lucas, your choice in women beggars belief! One series left…
Lucan. Really, one can have no respect or admiration for the British upper class of the time. Leaves ashes in the mouth and one can recognise similar arrogance and entitlement in our own country. Ye Gods, don’t get me started on entitlement…
Stonehouse – spoof or docudrama? Whatever the case, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. Matthew Macfadyen as I have never seen him. Can’t believe I missed so much of the Stonehouse news in the 70’s. Oh wait, it must have been my ‘baby brain’. Isn’t that what Ms. Markle called it?
– amusing movie with a great cast – Colin Firth, Kristen Scott Thomas, Jessica Biel, amongst others. Set post-WWI. Quirky, so very Coward.
So we come full circle once again – rather like a little necklet of popper bead seaweed. Opening my eyes every day, being mindful of what I’m privileged to see and experience, that’s life for me.
Thank you for coming along with me, have a good week, and because this newsletter started off about being a writer, playing with worlds and weaving dreams, I leave you with this:
I love reading about your "day that just passed." And those rock pools whisk me away to another world...a reminder to stop and appreciate every moment. Thank you for your words, which do indeed inspire me to "look, to see and to rejoice."
Lovely post. The ocean and fresh air has the same effect on me as it does on your pup! How wonderful it must be to have the treasures of the coast at your fingertips.