writing journal: wild olive, wild rose & byronic heroines

the life of a writer is always a strange mix of real and retold stories, and it is not worth the effort to tell the difference between the two.

Wild Rose

i have been reading the life of stratford canning, british diplomat to the ottoman empire during the napoleonic wars and after. i love his style of letter-writing & his delight at treading the same ground as his mythical and literary heroes. i’ve often felt the same, though only able to tenuously reconstruct those threads of ancient literature from translations and then ill-equipped to understand them. tenebrous tenedos.

i mark the days with post-it notes on my calendar, but little else changes.i stroll to the library in the morning, stopping to admire the hedgeroses and feel grateful for a quiet life. i accompanied my mum to a doctor’s appointment the other day and ogled the doctor’s fountain pen, a TWSBI, i think, filled with – i caught a glimpse of the bottle top – montblanc midnight blue.

i feel like i’m wilting, even though we get torrential rains every day; the days are dark and the evenings too short. i’ve been toying with the idea of writing a dark romance with a byronic heroine. what would that involve? a sort of reverse jane eyre? a woman with a shady past, an obsessive personality, an unpredictable temperament, and questionable morals who falls in love with a meek young man but eventually decides that she is better off living alone (except for her demons) in the countryside. i’m fairly certain that’s how it would end.

the moist air is redolent with wild alive olive. when i was at school and in love with the romantics, i would sometimes slip a few silver leaves into my letters to friends, to crown their girlish achievements. i’m afraid that as we grow, we lose those early coups de foudre for the literary ground we treat tread on, and worry too much that we are being precious, pretentious, or pernicious. our inner critic tells us we must mature as a writer, control and direct our dictional delights. But wild, uncultivated strains still shoot up.

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Wilder Rose