Some notes from the past few months…
1. Ferdinand Cheval
Ferdinand Cheval was a French postman who spent 33 years building a dream palace by hand, in his spare time from his rounds (for which he walked 30km every day).
His Palace idéal came to him in a dream, and I think I came to him from reading the first pages of The Committee of Sleep. Over the past month, I’ve been experimenting with using dreams for ideas and problem-solving, and I’ve turned my findings into a 7-day Dream Challenge for Lady Writers League members.
I didn’t realise that Byron’s opening lines for The Bride of Abydos were borrowed from Goethe. I came across the latter while thumbing through Of Time and the River, which I found, in turn, while doing a search for ‘Starwick’ as a possible character (and series?) name.
Kennst du das Land, wo die Zitronen blühn,
Im dunkeln Laub die Gold-Orangen glühn,
Ein sanfter Wind vom blauen Himmel weht,
Die Myrte still und hoch der Lorbeer steht,
Kennst du es wohl?
Möcht’ ich mit dir, O mein Geliebter, ziehn!
Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle
Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime?
Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle,
Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime?
Know ye the land of the cedar and vine,
Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine;
Where the light wings of Zephyr, oppressed with perfume,
Wax faint o’er the gardens of Gúl in her bloom;
Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit,
And the voice of the nightingale never is mute…
Now I want to write something called “The Bridge of Abydos”.
3. Silly Stories
I want to work in revelations, not just spin silly tales for money. I want to fish as deep down as possible into my own subconscious in the belief that once that far down, everyone will understand because they are the same that far down. – Jack Kerouac
I love Kerouac, and I’m instinctively drawn to agree with his sentiment. And yet… I want to work in revelations AND I want to spin silly tales for money. Deep down, I feel they’re the same. I adore guiltily thick, rich prose, and I adore silly tales – they’re usually full of revelations – and I adore the idea that writers can pay their own way and not struggle eternally because they are so damn beat.
4. What happened in Bucharest
In August, I had the very great pleasure of a residency in Bucharest to collaborate on the Bucharest Vernacular project. My diary from this period is available in the Coterie. As may be expected, it contains a preponderance of ponderance on trains, plants, and language. Oh, and death.
I’m attempting 100K for the first time this year, but I’m rebelling, as usual: 3 regency stories, 2 Steampunk Club sequels, and the remaining words spent in some self-indulgent litfic.
Creating my Botanical Christmas cards, I learnt a lot about the plants. That “holm” was an old word for the holly, for example, that mistletoe is sadly beautiful on winter trees, and most interestingly for me, that chestnuts were spread from Sardis. Sardis has always been one of my favourite ancient sites, possibly because I visited it on a quiet day, as a very romantical teenager.
7. To Love Oneself
I don’t know if it’s because I’m a gemini too, and feel like a spiritual hermaphrodite, but this article on self-marriage resonated with me completely. For the past couple of years, I’ve been working on a collection of sonnets called, The Beginning of a Lifelong Romance. It contains poems I’ve written since my first year of uni, and I consider it my most important work, although it may never see the light of day, and it will never earn me a penny.