As the Baftas go out this evening, the timing seems appropriate to respond to my own latest Award, gratefully received from Fourth Generation Farmgirl, who has nominated me for the Virtual Blog Tour Award. I appreciate the honour and will endeavour to comply with the requirements.
Here are the rules:
- Answer four questions about your creative process which lets other bloggers and visitors know what inspires you to do what you do.
- Write a one-time article which is to be posted on a Monday (the date supplied by your nominator). This article can be in the same post in which you answered the four questions.
- Pass the tour on to up to four other bloggers. Give them the rules and a specific Monday to post. Mine is February 16, so you’ll have to wait another week for that.
Since I’ve always been Mary, Mary, quite Contrary, I’ll start at the end and announce my own nominations first. In no particular order:
I hope you will accept my nomination, and publish your articles on Monday, 23 February. If you don’t want this Award, never mind. I still recommend others to visit and peruse your fascinating blogs. And my apologies to all the other bloggers I follow, but who are not being nominated this time. Please don’t be upset – I love you all equally!
Right. Now back to business: Inspiration can come from anywhere: a passing comment, a story or poem, a photo or a glimpse of something beautiful or moving, a dream, music – anything can trigger a response that demands expression. How it is expressed depends on many factors, including mood and what means of expression are to hand.
– What am I working on at the moment?
Delving into the family tree at frequent intervals, I discover all kinds of people and some of the events that shaped their lives, some in greater detail than others. Suddenly, an ancestor who was just a name acquires form and personality, becomes a real person who lived and breathed, loved and laughed and suffered. I am currently trying to convey that in the story of three generations of one family in the nineteenth century without it turning into a novel or even a multi-volume series of novels!
– How does my work differ to others in my genre?
I don’t know. Everyone is different, everyone has a unique voice, and we may sing in unison or in harmony. Perhaps sometimes I create a discord. I don’t deliberately try to be different but to be faithful to myself: I write the words as they surface, maybe rearrange a little, delete and rewrite, rearrange and re-order my thoughts, and hope it makes sense to someone and may resonate for them. I can’t escape my formal training: what I write will always be grammatically correct and I’m pedantic about spelling. I hate typos! And I am a child of my time, making me something of a linguistic fossil.
– Why do I write/create what I do?
The need to communicate, to share my experiences, thoughts, ideas and feelings, is irresistible. Often it’s a case of mouth engaged before brain is in gear, so writing is slightly safer than talking, although once it’s in black and white or online, there’s no going back! Much of the time, I’m talking to myself as I don’t have a captive audience. I have no inspired insights or brilliant works of literature or art for posterity, but if I didn’t express what’s inside me, I’d blow up like a balloon and burst. I wrote a poem about this almost exactly 2 years ago.
– How does my writing/creative process work?
Often a word or phrase will form like a bubble in my mind; at other times a mental picture provides a metaphor. The chaotic jumble of wisps and whispers of unformed ideas while falling asleep can be a treasure trove. That initial nucleus might develop more or less spontaneously into something more concrete, or I may need to poke and prod it into shape. A story usually tells itself, but will need some pruning and forming, and occasionally two or three nuclei will merge into one story, poem or essay. I no longer write out my drafts by hand, as my handwriting has become partially indecipherable even to me (unless inspiration stabs me in bed), but work everything out from initial idea to final article on the computer (I say ‘final’ – it’s never finished and may be revised ten or twenty years later). I have to curb my natural love of alliteration and assonance, which can become excessive, and my tendency to longwindedness.
And that comes as a timely reminder that this is enough for now. Yes, I’ll post an article for you next Monday, Fourth Generation Farmgirl and fellow probatophile.
Now, to the rest of you, go and look what she and my nominees have been up to. Enjoy!