Do you know that thing were you open a bible at random and read the first thing you see? You may be experiencing a problem, and the thing you read gives you the answer to the problem, or comfort or guidance. I am sure this is not exclusive to Christianity, I am sure if any person of any faith applies the same principle, then they will get a similar result. I had this experience today, not with a bible or any other faith book, but with Katherine Swift’s ‘The Morville Hours.’ I am busy reading this, and Annie Dillard’s ‘Pilgrim At Tinker Creek,’ and I have started Mary Chamberlain’s ‘Fenwomen,’ and scanned W.G.Sebald’s ‘The Rings of Saturn,’ and I nearly forgot Edmund De Waal’s ‘The Hare With Amber Eyes.’ As well as this I have half a dozen reference books on the go; and there have been a number of TV programmes that I should really have made notes through. Then I committed to writing a reflective dairy, and whilst I was doing this, lots of other things popped into my head that I should be writing down in case I forgot. And then there is all the stuff I had picked up on the internet during the year in relation to my writing idea. Oh and did I tell you I got a new camera? Just about anywhere I go round home is worth photographing; the Mourne Mountains and the shores of Carlingford Lough have infinite possibilities and the image can either be an inspiration for writing or painting.
The books are mostly within the genre of nature writing/non-fiction/life writing; and I have been told this is the type of writing I am doing. I got the life writing ok but I had never really thought about nature writing; what on earth is that anyway? Well I have to find out. I’m not writing about wild life, I’m not David Attenborough, or Jacques Cousteau; but my landscape contains stories, specifically about women. In this part of the world there’s bits of stones in interesting places, some natural , some fashioned, like Celtic cross and a cairn, linked to the women and away my imagination goes; so this is nature writing, go out the door and see what you can see, there’s probably a story. Annie Dillard wrote from a creek, Katherine Swift from her garden, Fenwomen, of course is about women, The Hare with Amber Eye’s is about family and The Ring of Saturn is a journey through East Anglia and Seabald’s head.
Then there’s my head; I opened The Morville Hours today to read: ‘ I shall go mad. Too many disconnected facts and too few answers ...one of my manic phases...’ Ah, it’s not just me. I feel better already.