Sunday, 11 January 2015

'Rhinestone Cowboy'

Have you ever been transported back in time by a song? I'm sure we all have at some point in our lives... I'd feel a little sorry for you if you hadn't. Well, it happened to me this week having taken a phone call to inform me that my grandmother had died. I was seated in the Library of Birmingham, currently my favourite building, waiting to attend my writers' group when the sad news came through. I was expecting the news so it wasn't such a shock but I wasn't where I'd imagined I might be taking such a phone call but given the nature and circumstance of her death - it was a pretty good place to be.

Afterwards as I quietly sat watching the world go by and absorbing the news a song burst into head - without warning, manners and no apparent thought. It simply appeared. Not a song my grandmother would sing or have chosen as it doesn't represents her personality in anyway, but it did signify a specific moment in time for me: Glen Campbell's 'Rhinestone Cowboy'. Any relative reading this has just grimaced and is still staring in horror at the screen at such an unlikely association. Hey, I'm just being honest, I can't help how my creative brain stores memories and images!  Anyhow the track burst onto my head transporting me back to being 6 years old, seated in Nan's 1970s lounge, where I'd sat mesmerised by the words/images on hearing this track for the first time in my life - on vinyl, I may add. The images and sensations were so, so vivid - as if I were actually back there. Anyway, for the rest of Wednesday evening the song was like a backing track swirling about my mind until sleep arrived.

Thursday morning after that initial 'eyes open and brain remembers the event of yesterday' shock - it started up again. I taught five lessons, conducted detentions and attended another writers' meeting with 'Rhinestone cowboy' blaring in my head.

Friday wasn't as bad, but still I simply had to silence Glen Campbell crooning in my head.

Music has always been a powerful stimulus in my life that I consciously use to my advantage while writing to create moods, situations and visual reminders... and sometimes it takes over of its own accord.

So, having no choice but to submit and welcome Glen Campbell as the new addition to my song box of memories I thought it best to reorganise my list of 'Desert Island discs'.

1. 'We love to boogie' - T Rex
2. 'Town Called malice' - The Jam
3. 'Dancing Queen' - Abba
4. 'Bring me sunshine' - Morcombe and Wise
5. 'I vow to be thy country' - a traditional hymn
6. 'Let it be me' - Everly Brothers
7. 'I want to hold your hand' - Beatles
8. Rhinestone Cowboy  - Glen Campbell (should you wish to hear the inside of my head for the last four days!)

Having regained silence, I'll return to my desk and begin my writing - chuckling every now and then because this surprise musical experience really hasn't been the memories of my nan that I'd have banked on!

Apologies to anyone that has spoken to me since Wednesday but now you know what was occurring in my head!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

My writing room - one year anniversary

Ever wondered how productive having you own writing space would be? For numerous years whilst pitched in the corner of the dining room, with more traffic than Piccadilly Circus, it was a question I regularly pondered. I spent hours longing for my own space. Frequently, I'd moan about household distractions, constant interruptions or even the lack of respect that my creative corner received from others. Was it an excuse to avoid knuckling down to write? An excuse for my lack of focus? Or simply the truth expressed by Ms Woolfe - I needed my own room.

Today 3rd January 2015, I can answer those question honestly, with evidence to support*. Ms Woolfe was correct, I simply needed my own room. It wasn't plain moaning and griping but an honest desire that I knew would enhance my productivity.

Today is the anniversary of my writing room, the single spare bedroom that I emptied then quickly refilled with writing paraphernalia. A room that I have visited each day since taking ownership, a room that has become my creative space where I've managed to produce 213,704 words. I'll type that again, if felt good - 213,704 words. OMG! Who would have thought it? Those 213,704 words have been shared between novels, short stories, poems and blog updates but each and every one has sprung from my muse and my fingertips.

I always knew a writing room was going to be a significant advantage to me but having experienced the last year... I would suggest all would-be-writers start fighting for 'your space'.

I feel there is a psychology regards the writing room:
  • I flip straight into writing mode on every visit.
  • My work notes scatter the floor - on returning I pick up the idea thread as if I'd never left.
  • A validation has emerged regards my work and efforts.
  • Others have developed a recognition regards my efforts.
  • Everything I need to write is in one space making the task feel easier.
  • A level of professionalism has developed  - no longer my hobby.
Subconsciously I knew what I was missing, I needed a 'Narnia' - that special place where the magic could happen. In short, taking ownership of my writing room has possibly been the most significant step I've taken towards my writing goals.

Here's to a fresh writing year - fingers crossed that by 3rd January 2016 I'll have a lot more to celebrate!

* Yes, I'm a spreadsheet freak who writes down her daily output... but hey, it comes in handy for knowing your productivity x

My writing room...