What better way to end April than with a round-up of what’s inspired me lately?
As you read this, I’m driving north-west to the Isle of Rum. After a few nights on Rum we’re heading to Skye and Raasay. The car is full of food, my phone is stocked up on podcasts and questionable CDs have been found in the glove compartment. I love the nostalgia of road trips and how an old song I’ve heard a thousand times becomes imbued with sudden meaning when traveling someplace new. It’s as though a change of scene unlocks a new layer to whatever I’m listening to or reading.
For the next week all I want to do is explore empty beaches and climb hills by day and at night curl up in front of the wood burner with a good book. Basically, give my brain a break from my novel! Maybe I’ll find inspiration for new stories, too.
Can’t wait to share these beautiful islands with you on the blog. Until then I hope you enjoy this wee ‘playlist.’
My April read was the mammoth Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I could have finished it sooner, but I did not want it to end. I think what excited me most about this book is it validated the kind of stories a want to write – a mix of fantasy, ordinariness, history and magic. It’s the kind of book I wish I’d written…the kind I’m trying to write, and Susanna Clarke’s spectacular world motivates me to try even harder.
I also bought How To Draw People (a treat for achieving some writing goals) because I miss drawing. I used to draw every day and loved sharing finished pieces on DeviantArt. Hopefully this book will inspire me to dust off the artistic cobwebs.
I recently unfollowed lots of ‘influencer’ accounts on Instagram in favour of art accounts. Not that I don’t have respect for the time and creativity it takes to be an Instagram influencer, but it’s not the direction I want my account to go in. I don’t want to lose sight of what’s important to me – writing books. It’s easy to lose time chasing follower counts and numbers instead of making the thing I want to share.
Here are some artists I’ve been inspired by recently:
Iris Compiet - @iriscompiet
Julia Jeffrey - @stonemaidenart
Naomi Nowak - @naominowak
Irene Horrors - @irenehorrors
Chris Riddell - @chris_riddell
Abigail Larson - @abigail_latson
FILM & TV
In my March playlist I mentioned how I want to watch more films. Since then I’ve started a Friday Night Film Club in the flat. Each week we take turns picking a different film. As a result, I’ve seen The Man Who Fell To Earth (weird but good), Arrival (shite), The Shining, Jean de Floretteand Manon des Sources.
I also saw Mary Queen of Scots and watched the newest Game of Thrones episode (along with everyone else). I wasn’t impressed by either. I feel a lot of films/TV nowadays leave the audience to do the legwork as far as characterisation goes. Is it just me or do Sansa, Danerys, Arya and Cersei all have the same personality now?
I’ve not seen anything that really blew me away this month but I know it’s only a matter of time until a real gem turns up. Suggestions welcome!
Wait, I tell a lie – I’ve started watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer with my sister. Talk about quality.
I’ve recently discovered Russell Brand’s Under the Skin podcast and enjoy the intersection of politics, humour, philosophy and spirituality.
I’m also listening to The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, which I’m enjoying but the ever-changing narrator spoils the experience a little.
I’ve stopped listening to ‘creative business’ podcasts because they were stressing me out. I kept finding things I wasn’t doing to add to my already lengthy to-do list, or felt inadequate by comparing myself to others further along in their creative journey. I’ve decided I’m only going to turn to these podcasts when I have a specific problem I need advice on.
Let’s not pretend that I’m listening to anything but The Lord of the Rings OST right now, as I cruise up the A9. It’s the epic soundtrack a road trip through Scotland was made for.