Last week I took a deep breath and started The Artist’s Way.
It’s a 12-week programme by Julia Cameron (herself a prolific artist), designed to help ‘discover and recover your creative self.’ I’ve been curious about the process for years after hearing many artists describe it as life-changing. A discovery of true purpose, sustained creativity and sense of control over one’s life and art are the most commonly reported benefits.
As the 10 year challenge swept Instagram I, at first, refused to look back. My 19 year-old self was someone I would rather forget. But last week, when the challenge showed no signs of abating, curiosity got the better of me and I hunted out my old diaries. Maybe I was doing a disservice to the young woman I used to be, underestimating her now as she underestimated herself then? If I could write a letter to her, I wondered what I would say...
More selkies, kelpies and goblins. Less cynics, naysayers and growing up.
So read one of my recent Instagram captions, a mission statement for wild, imaginative souls and one which encapsulates the spirit of my word for 2019: abundance.
I love the light, the silliness and celebration; I love the dark, the deepness and profound thoughts winter inspires in me. At its height, winter is a world of stillness, otherness and dying beauty.
It’s time. The snow is falling. Stars twinkle cold in the icy sky. I am frozen to the bone from trudging in the drifts. Frozen but content, shaking meltwater from my hair. Getting home, pulling boots off. It’s time. The arrival of a quiet, December moment. I brew a cup of tea, balance some biscuits on the arm of the chair and settle into a wintry read…
I shared a daydream of mine on Instagram recently.
I am entertaining visitors with tea and spiced apple cake at my future cottage. Because I am intensely homely that cottage will likely be nestled among the leafy hills of Perthshire. Of course, it’s autumn, because I want my visitors to experience this corner of Scotland at its best – burnished, fire-hued and wreathed in mist.
We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘you are what you eat’, but what if we are what we read?
The last time I looked at my shelves it was like looking in a mirror. My past and future dreams rested on those shelves, all my beliefs and prejudices jumbled one atop the other in a yellow paged, dog-eared testament to who I am. Perhaps this explains the vulnerable feeling I get when a guest peruses my bookshelf. It feels like they are turning the pages of my diary.
Here's to the early days of autumn. Is there anything better than feeling that first chill in the air, pulling on an oversized jumper and curling up with an absorbing read? Below is a list of the books I plan to read this season, pages of magic and poetry, ghosts and uncanny quiet. I hope that you will find these tales as enticing as I do...
This morning I woke up naturally, padded into the kitchen and watched the bristle of rain from the window while my tea brewed. The face of the church clock was obscured by silvered haze, the leaves and post-box red fruit of the apple tree glistened with damp.
I paused to appreciate the unmistakable stirrings of autumn, letting my mind drift to a mist-wreathed kingdom of seal-folk and ancient things.
A far cry from where I was a few months ago – stressed, frustrated and lost. Unable to slow down or appreciate my favourite time of day in my hurry to get out the door and to work on time.
I’m not particularly romantic when it comes to Valentine’s Day (as you might have guessed with this post arriving ten days late) but one thing I can get sentimental about is a good book. So, I decided to celebrate the month of love in my own way with a list of six books that have made me cry.
Because surely the sign of a great writer is one who has rendered you a weeping ball by the last page?
4 Scottish Poems Inspiring My Month Of Words
With Burns Night just around the corner I am turning to poems from my native land to inspire my writing sessions. As this month’s theme is ‘Folklore & Fairytales’ I’ve selected four poems of myth and magic, poems that encapsulate that eerie sense of uncanny which Scottish writing does so well. If you’re following #mymonthofwords on Instagram, I’ve included prompts below each poem on how you might use these poets’ interpretations of fairytales and legends to add a touch of the supernatural to your own writing.
If you are simply here for the poetry then I hope you enjoy these poems as much as I do.
I found Stag Boy in my local second-hand bookshop on a neglected shelf of children’s literature. I had no money on me at the time but knew I had to have it, so hid it behind some old copies of Harry Potter and came back for it later, cash in hand. This strange little book casts a powerful spell, for I instantly abandoned my current read to finish it in an afternoon. Stag Boy tells the tale of Jim, a frail boy who has returned to his native rugged but beautiful Exmoor to convalesce. One day, while exploring an abandoned cottage, he finds a strange helmet of fused antler and iron. From the moment Jim puts the helmet on his being becomes intertwined with the powerful black stag, which roams the surrounding countryside. The black stag gives Jim a confidence and power he has never known, but it is not long before the mysterious influence of the stag starts to overpower the human boy.