Funny how little things link together throughout your life.
At the weekend I had a day of ‘connections’.
I was lucky enough to attend a writing course run by David Gray on behalf of the SCBWI.
What a treat, to take part in a writing course and be surrounded by books! The course took place in the fantastic setting of Dunfermline Carnegie Library, which, linked with the new museum, galleries, reading room, cafe and much more, looks out over Dunfermline Abbey.
Afterwards we had a look at the super ‘Blooming Marvellous’ family friendly gardening exhibition and it even had knitted flowers!
I grew up hearing the story of Andrew Carnegie and love the way his gift has just kept on giving. Dunfermline was the world’s first library to be funded by Andrew Carnegie and it opened in 1883.
The library was busy, even on a rainy day, and I’ll definitely be back to spend more time in Dunfermline.
So many things I love all together in one place; writing, reading, gardening, art, museums, knitting (and a cup of tea!) – truly a day of connections.
Set the scene, the Lady of Shalott floating gracefully down the river. All is calm.
Outside the isle a shallow boat
Beneath a willow lay afloat,
Below the carven stern she wrote,
The Lady of Shalott.
Now imagine Anne Shirley in the place of the great lady, one minute drifting along, the next her boat has sunk and she is clinging to a post in the river!
It could only happen to Anne of Green Gables. Even though I read this as a child, the thought of Anne’s escapade and its dramatic conclusion still makes me laugh today. This was my first introduction to The Lady of Shalott by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and I have remembered it ever since.
Perhaps it is one of the greatest compliments a writer can pay to another, to acknowledge and include the other’s work in their own with the hope of introducing it to a whole new audience.
After all isn’t it natural to want to share fiction we love?
If I go for a walk I look at the trees. Each one is so individual it seems to almost have its own personality.
Reflecting on this I wanted to consider the role trees play in fiction for children.
For me it all began with The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. I thought of trees as magical, kind, fun – after all wasn’t there a huge slide!
When I looked up trees in fiction I came across this article which suggested a couple of books I did know and some more to add to my reading list, always a good thing!
It made me think, what did trees mean to me as a child?
Well, they were for:
playing on rope swings,
climbing or should I say scrambling, using sticks and leaves for games and potions, collecting conkers to play conkers,
tree bark rubbings,
gathering acorns, using the cups for fairy cups and
hiding behind for hide and seek.
I’m sure others have many more things they could add to this list!
With all this in mind I hope I can include trees in my own writing. Like everything there are always two sides to a story so it may be that some of the trees behave like the Ents while others are more like Whomping Willows!
Have you taken a moment to look at the trees around you? What’s your favourite tree in fiction?
I moved a bookshelf this week only to discover each shelf had two layers of books! Quite a lot of books really!
So the bookcase is moved but what to do with all these books?
You see, what if it’s a rainy day, like today and I need a wee comfort Cup of Tea book to read in between my new books?
Well, I just happened to read on the blog Story Snug that February the 14th is the day to share the love of books, it is International Book Giving Day. How lovely! I think this is one of those ‘namedays’ I could really get behind!
Now, I’m guessing this will be a great excuse to shop for new books but I think it could also be a great day to drop off a pile at the charity shop too and share this love of books. So it’s time to go through the book mountain again, I am sure there’s more I could give away.
A book upstairs, a book downstairs, one in the door of the car, if I don’t have a book near to hand then I’ll feel a bit lost to be honest.
Talking to others, I know I’m not the only one like this and I recently read the lovely Books in my Handbag Blog and felt I was totally at home.
On my own site I have the Cup of Tea booklist with the books people said they’d return to again and again. In the Books in my Handbag blog, Jessie Cahalin has a ‘Reader Recommends’ page where she has asked for the titles of books which have fed your reading addiction.
I sent my books in, of course I could not stick to one as I have so many favourites but The Chalet School and Anne of Green Gables certainly stand out in my memory.
Perhaps it was the strong, independent characters or maybe it was because they were part of a series.
It could have been the beginning of learning to love the writing of a particular author and searching for the other books they have written.
Taking the time to think back to which books inspired me was so enjoyable I thought I’d like to pass it on.
Do you have any books you’d add to the Books in my Handbag Blog or My Cup of Tea booklist? I’d love to know.