I’d like to start a regular update here where I share books, music, podcasts and anything that inspires me month to month. I enjoy reading these kinds of updates on others’ blogs – it often leads me to discover a new favourite author, blog or band. And I’m always curious to see where folk get their inspiration from!
So, without further ado, here’s what’s been inspiring me this month.
Ris a’ Bhruthaichby Sorely MacLean
My friend and Gaelic teacher leant me this book of critical writings by Sorely MacLean (Scotland’s best known and maybe best loved Gaelic poets). His insights into Gaelic and Highland culture are fascinating. And his thoughts on what makes a poem great, and the differences between realism and romanticism in poetry have been whirling around my mind for weeks. I love how his ability to see through intellectual posturing leads him to champion the raw, authentic expression of previously dismissed female poets. There are also sober reflections on the state of the Gaelic language which tugged at my heart.
Orlandoby Virginia Woolf
Orlando was on my ’30 Before 30’ to-read list. As expected, I loved Orlando – a novel that is actually a love letter to Woolf’s friend and lover, Vita Sackville-West. Moving throughout time and gender, musing on the soul and poetry, combining silliness and philosophical observations, Woolf created a wintry, timeless work of genius.
Gate of Ivory, Gate of Hornby Robert Holdstock
The Mythago Wood books are my favourite fantasy series of all time. Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn had an irresistible premise, giving the backstory to the first book’s antagonist. With my penchant for antiheroes I couldn’t wait to read it. I’m sure fellow book lovers can relate to this scene: settling down to a much anticipated book, the world begins to melt away as your imagination grows a dark forest around you…and then, an unsettling feeling descends. Desperation sets in as you try to bond with at least one of the cardboard characters. In the end you have to admit – the book is a disappointment. Sadly this was the case with Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn. I’ll write a full review on Goodreads after the grieving process is complete.
However, it still makes the list as afterwards I obsessively researched Mythago Wood fanfiction, something I’ve not done with a series since The Lord of the Rings. (I didn’t find any, and it’s taking all my willpower not to fall into an unproductive black hole by writing one).
Rachael’s channel became an indispensable source of advice and inspiration when I was outlining the third draft of my novel. If you’re a writer of fiction you need to watch her videos! I’m actually considering paying less each month on my phone so I can subscribe to her Patreon channel because her Plot With Me videos are gold.
I’ve mainly listened to writing podcasts this month. My current favourites are The Creative Penn and Jeff Goin’s Portfolio Life. In the evenings me and my boyfriend always listen to The Glass Cannon – an actual-play recording of the RPG Pathfinder. (We’re geeks).
I’d like to see more films but the nearest cinema to me is at least half an hour’s drive away. We have a monthly community cinema in the town hall but they usually show blockbuster type films which I’m not keen on. Maybe I’ll use an artist’s date as an excuse to see a new film.
So that’s my February inspiration round-up. Feel free to email me anything that caught your attention this month - I’m always looking for ways to fill the well!