Facing My Demons to Better My Writing

My grandparents lived in a small, weatherboard house on the edge of a large, untamed forest. I used to visit them fortnightly with my three brothers. We would traipse through the forest pretending we were explorers, building bark huts and imagining other worlds. I believe that these sun-filled days set the foundations for me as a writer. Just the smell of damp, forest air makes me feel refreshed and renewed, and my fingers itch to write stories.

I have not been back to my grandparents’ house since my Pop passed away five years ago. I haven’t been able to bear it. The dreaded axe hacked the lifeforce out of the beautiful trees that used to be my place of refuge, and I knew the sight of the rotting stumps would be the stuff of nightmares.

Recently I was really struggling with my writing. I was stuck in a rut and could see no way out. It was the one year anniversary of the death of my Nan, one of my best friends and truest confidant. I could not see clearly through the grief that fogged my mind. So I decided to face my demons. I, along with my darling boyfriend, made the hour and a half trip to my grandparents’ old property. They property borders on State land, so technically I didn’t have to do any trespassing to get a good view of the place. I hiked through the mountain forest, feeling as if I could breath clearly for the first time in a year. I found the tree that used to be my favourite, somehow bigger that I had remembered it. I was close to tears as I remembered the old games I used to play in the forest, the stories I used to create.

My boyfriend led me down the slope towards the house. It was as bad as I had feared. The orchard of fruit trees, the glorious weeping willow, my strong and silent hazel bush, walnut tree, chestnut tree…all gone. All fell to the woodman’s axe. I wanted to weep bitter tears. How dare they!?! I asked. My boyfriend hugged me and reminded me that the new owners did not have the memories I had, the trees were not important to them. They would make their own memories, and cutting down trees could not take away mine. I nodded slowly, tearfully and looked out into the horizon. I looked at the mountains that haven’t changed, and the trees’ golden and red and orange autumnal leaves. I soaked in the beauty of it all and let go of the past.

I feel as if a wound has been lanced, clean now but scarred forever. I can live with the scars far more easily that I could live with the festering hurt. The next day I sat down with a notebook. And I wrote. And I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. Heartfelt stories, cute little ditties, humour and sorrow intertwined. I can now draw on my childhood memories and use them to strengthen my writing. I have my muse back and for that I am thankful.

Rilla of Ingleside, by L.M.Montgomery

Rilla of Ingleside (Anne of Green Gables, #8)Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is the final in the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ series and follows Anne’s youngest child, Rilla. It begins with the outbreak of WWI, and you journey with the Blythe family as one-by-one their sons answer the Piper’s calling and go to war. Because I grew up with these characters I can’t read this book with dry eyes. It all seems too painfully real. Montgomery truly was a literary genius and this book will not disappoint.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine #1)Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was not what I had expected it to be. I had picked it up thinking it would be a horror story, the kind that gives you nightmares for a month. Instead it was only slightly creepy. The story was compelling and provided an interesting take on time travel. The photographs that are provided by the author are a cool little way of providing visuals for the writing, even if it was a little frustrating that the photos were sometimes 3 or 4 pages away from the text (I can’t help it, I don’t like having to flick back and forth through a book). All in all I enjoyed reading this book. I think it’s a nice read if you’re after something a little bit different.

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A New Study/Library to Help Me Focus

I am feeling very lucky right now. I am moving house and will now have space for my very own study/library where I am to spend many hours writing and dreaming. I want to be careful to set this room up correctly so that it is a room of minimal distraction so I can reach optimum focus levels. I am a serial procrastinator, but now it’s time to get my butt into gear. Please join me in my quest to set up the best study/library I can.

When I first entered the room I became very excited. The wallpaper that had previously been hidden by a wardrobe looks like this:

What children’s writer wouldn’t be inspired by Paddington Bear wallpaper?

Once I move in this weekend I will be setting up my bookcases and desk. My aim is to have everything I could possible need (research material, dictionary, thesaurus, pens, paper, large brain storming paper etc.) so I won’t have to leave the room. If I leave the room, there is a fair chance that I won’t come back. One this I also learnt whilst at University was that I need to keep my most used books closest to hand, right by my desk, so I don’t have to search for them. This prevents me from losing my stride.

I can’t wait! More to come.

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

The AlchemistThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was not at all what I had expected, but I enjoyed it none-the-less. It was well written, with a fairly likeable main character. I wished that I could have more information on the other characters in the story, and was disappointed that those details were lacking. The descriptions of Africa were lovely, and I felt as if I could see, feel and smell the locations along with the main character. All in all a nice read.

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Fenella: A Fable of a Fairy Afraid to Fly, by Susannah Cord

Fenella: A Fable of a Fairy Afraid to FlyFenella: A Fable of a Fairy Afraid to Fly by Susannah Cord
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a fabulous story that is beautifully illustrated. It had my little niece enraptured as I read it to her. Definitely a story for all the family. And, I was lucky enough to have the audio CD too, which had me giggling out loud (especially at the bee).

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Perry Bear Goes For a Walk, by Jack R Mason

Perry Bear Goes For A WalkPerry Bear Goes For A Walk by Jack R Mason
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

‘Perry Bear Goes For A Walk’ is a charming read, complete with beautiful illustralions that are a delight to look at. The story subtly encourages the importance of friendship and interacting with others (and he has impeccable manners!). This story is perfect to read to small children. My 2 year old niece absolutlely loved the story and we are both hanging out for more adventures of Perry Bear!

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Danny the Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl

Danny the Champion of the WorldDanny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love, love, love Roald Dahl, but I had never read this story as a child. I am sorry I missed it because it is an amazing tale. It is slightly dark, which I think is wonderful – it makes the reader feel they are privvy to something secret. I have never read a bad Dahl novel, because I don’t think one exists.

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Hello and Welcome!

Hello and welcome to my new blog. Come in, sit down, make yourself comfortable. I have a chocolate biscuit here with your name on it.

Join me on a journey through the world of Children’s literature. I am passionate about cultivating a love of reading in children. It is so important for feeding the imagination and creating a sense of wonder in the world around us.

Feel free to comment, share ideas and tips, or just have a good ‘ole poke around my website. I look forward to getting to know you :)

 

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