1. Sometimes questions are difficult to answer.
I did an interview on skype for a school in Colchester and the children all had interesting questions that made me think. But one girl asked ” What inspires you?”
When ever I do a Q&A someone will always ask, “Where do you get your inspiration?” This question demanded a different answer.
What inspires me? Things like this, a review for East of the Sun, West of the Moon on Amazon:
“Myself and my 11 year old daughter are huge Jackie Morris fans, I think we have nearly all her books and love them all dearly just like old friends. We were lucky enough to buy East of the Sun, West of the Moon at its book launch and our copy is signed by Jackie herself. We were beginning to bicker over who should read the book first so it was decided that we would read it together, this is something I hadn’t done with my daughter for years and its wonderful. On page 22, Jackie writes of a breakfast which we both yearned for, bowl of deep red cherries, peaches and plums, a jug of warm milk and another of cream, crisp, warm bread and a pot of aromatic tea; so, on Mothers day morning I woke to this very breakfast which my lovely daughter had painstakingly put together as my surprise! It was wonderful, I don’t drink tea so coffee was used as a substitute! We have not finished this book yet, we are very choosy when to unwrap the next layer, we may take it with us onto the cliff tops on a crisp windy day, or wait for peace and quiet with the cat in front of the fire, however it may be, we are as excited as a child on Christmas morning to see what happens next, I have said it often but again Thank you Jackie Morris for this sprinkling of magic.”
How could something like that fail to inspire me?
2. Finishing a book is perhaps as difficult as beginning one. I now only have the endpapers to work on and then Song of the Golden Hare will be finished. But what a difficult day yesterday was.
3. There are as many different ways of interpreting art as there are people who experience it. And sometimes things come to light at just the right time.
Browsing facebook I found this, via Rachel Rooney. My next book has silence in it, a prince, a girl, a task and a journey and some swans. Silence is beginning to intrigue me. This is fascinating and beautiful and she looks just a little as if she stepped out from one of my paintings.
4. Dormice need to have wooden gates so that they can move along hedges and spread their populations and survive. Not metal gates. Wooden ones.
1. When a bookshop calls to you, especially one that sells second hand books, go to it, take time. There is something that that you need.
East of the Sun, West of the Moon has the four winds blowing through the book as characters. My next book has swans in it, swans who can only visit their homeland on Midsummer’s Day when there is enough daylight for them to fly home. In the bookshop, on the Pebbles I found this beautiful book about artist, author and bird loving man, Peter Scott who had a passion for swans so much so that he founded Slimbridge.
Inside the book, which was printed in 1961 was a note written on the endpaper:
I was born in 1961.
There were other books too that sang to me and wanted to come home to my shelves. Morning Flight is full of pictures. Not a first edition, but a rare wartime edition published in 1944, May, seventh impression, printed and bound in Aylesbury, England in the days when we still had a publishing tradition of books being made in the UK instead of the madness of shipping them from China and Singapore.
Anyone who has ever stood and watched swans fly over the sea will know how time seems to stop and ride on their wings.
2. That there is a bat in the UK called Bechstein’s Bat, or there was in 1953. They are now classed as a vulnerable species.
There was something else that I learned yesterday, but for now it escapes me in an elusive way. When it comes back to mind I will add to the list.
Chris also has two astonishing books on Amundsen. Absolutely amazing. He let me have a look at one. Beautiful shining gold edges on the paper. There are two for sale on ABE. Both very expensive. Sometimes there are such treasures in unexpected places.