Amongst the Rare

51st Trial: The first 30 minutes of the writing process. The sitting down, the picking of the pencil, and the blank and sometimes uninviting white paper.

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot:  8hr

Weekly Choice of Tea: Earl Grey

Biggest Success: Successfully snowboarding down the mountainside in Northstar, near Lake Tahoe. I fell, I landed hard, and I conquered.

snow-boarding

Jane Austen claims that one who can write a letter with ease, cannot write ill. Yesterday as I struggled with the chapter’s momentum (I have started chapter eight, happily enough) those words wrapped me in an innocent bubble, because I can write letters easily. In this bubble I do not feel the weight of my own expectations or of those brilliant writers that any novel will be compared to. But instead I fell alone, and my writing and my story are what they are. My technique compares to mine alone, and my voice echoes from my own mind. It does not give me confidence that I do in fact write well, but at least I cannot write ill. I find, like with most letter writing, beginning it is the toughest, whether you are starting a new chapter or picking up where you left off. About 30 minutes into my writing do I then become involved and pick up speed, but those 30 minutes are dreadful.  Must look beyond dreadful – mental note!

I wished I had seen Austen during the book fair I went to during my Valentine’s day treat! It was in Oakland, and it was the largest rare book collectors fair in the world. Jamie took me there as a surprise, little knowing that any book there ranged from $400 – $100K. I looked through the rows of vendors, pining over the Dickens, the Brontes, the Wordsworth, and the Shakespeare. I held tightly to Arabian Nights only to have to put it down again. The series of Tennyson sat nobly overlooking my puppy set eyes. Austen though, evaded me. I felt her, along with my favorite stories by the Bronte sisters, in the booths of particularly dusty, well-used, and sometimes stained books. There were large world Atlases that reminded me of the young Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility, and there were thick books of anatomy, horticulture, and beetles that took me into Mr. Rochester’s library. Rarity comes with a price, but it was worth it to hold and flip through the pages of History and Time itself.

Happily I found a first edition of Harry Potter, which came home with me later that night!

hp-1st

Advertisements

Dancing with the Daffodils

8th Trial: Converting Vacation Mind back to Work Mind

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 0 – but if you please, I had just reason not too! I was too busy with the surrounding nature of England and Austria

Weekly Choice of Tea: English Breakfast Tea, of course!

Biggest Success: Finding Daffodils

DSC_0526    11053385_10155676659820082_267705537873300093_o

Will this be my last Wordsworth reference? Most likely not, however I am so surprised that my love for his Daffodil poem was apparently the one he is most loved for. An interesting fact I learned while in his home at Rydal Mount. Yes it is true, I have journeyed to the place of worship itself, to the Mecca of literature’s admirers! In the heart of the Lake District I walked the gravel and grassy carpeted lanes where Dorothy and William tread; I saw the squirrels that were ancestors to the creatures that inspired Beatrix’s vivid imagination; I drank at the pub that Charles Dickens frequented; I traveled further south to London and visited the home where Keats lived. All in all I was surrounded by the beauty that was so well documented by the talented observers, and that gave inspiration to their arts. DSC_0738   DSC_0418 While my time at Wordsworth’s home was short, I felt the refreshing pulse of the Lake District. In other words, the gardens and cottage is what makes the area thrive in my memory and in my heart. Everywhere I looked there were fields of sheep; the gardens were kept and in bloom; the cottages with the perfect bowed windows had ivy covered front archways. Wordsworth’s study was outdoors, as was Beatrix Potter’s. Her animation with the Lake District was through the stories of tiny creatures that had the most innocent and exciting adventures: to forbidden gardens; a washer porcupine of our imaginations; wicked wretched bunnies in high passion. Both authors fell in love with the Lakes because the quiet calm that fills the air will flow through any artery and vein, bringing life to every limb. DSC_0743  DSC_0482   DSC_0732   DSC_0705  

Simply, I intend to go back. This time with pencil in hand and no activities on book. Maybe when I finish my novel and need to revise it (badly), can I then take a hiatus to the wide countryside of rolling fells and deep, sincere vales. I was in Austria prior to the Lake District, where the Alps gave small glances into towns tucked dearly between each ascent. Austria truly surprised me with its unimaginable heights and classic styled homes. “The hills are alive, with the sound of music” is not just a tune of metaphorical reminiscence, as I always thought the song to be about. Sitting on any hillside I could hear the bells that adorned the surrounding cows that grazed fields around me. It was music, so peaceful and tranquil that I could stay on that hillside for years and never grow weary of its tune. Photos from Austria: DSC_0003   DSC_0015  DSC_1202

Everywhere I journeyed, I could feel the land. It healed me, and I believe it healed Jamie as well. It is ironic that the places we traveled brought so much peace and restfulness to my heart, brought with it an event that caused so much fear and anxiety. When Jamie fell off a cliff ledge in Austria (as most of you know by now), my soul could not rest with the image of her disappearing from sight, and me powerless to stop it. England then tried to calm us with promises of sunshine and scones with jam and cream, with sparkling lakes beside beds of reeds. But I could not be calm. She rests beside me now, as I sit in our apartment in America, and I am confident that an event like that anywhere else would have left me a nervous wreck still—yet it was only the beauty of the lands we left that healed our hearts and minds, and it was only there that I could have recovered from the shock so quickly. Jamie as well, as she is ready to go back even now! However I know that where we need to be now is here; I know this because I drove home from work yesterday, and noticed for the first time, that daffodils lined the highway exit to my home. In a way I see my world differently, though it probably has always been like this. I will write, I will love this precious survivor, and I will work hard to be able to find myself again in the fields so that I too may become devoured by its effects.

DSC_0721