My magic trick

It works like this. I get up in the early morning, while it’s still a little dark. I tiptoe past the kids’ room and shut myself in my study. Then I start wA family at the beach in 1930riting. And words come. They don’t sit dammed up in my brain behind that invisible forcefield. They come out of my head, down my arms, into my fingers, out onto the keyboard, and appear on the screen. They come in their hundreds and sometimes in their thousands. Then I stop at breakfast time and get on with my day.

I’ve always been an early-morning writer, and I’m so pleased to be back in this space. Having suffered horrifically through the editing process (see below) it’s such a wonderful feeling of liberty to be writing forward again. The settings and characters are coming alive in my imagination, seeming more real every day. I have certainly written my way back in to this story.

Next weekend I’m off on a research trip in Tasmania. This is the first time I’ve researched Australian history for a story, and I’ve surprised myself by how fascinated I am. I managed to get hold of a book called E. A. Hoppe’s Australia, which is a collection of photographs taken over one year (1930) by a German photographer, and I’ve spent many hours poring over the pictures, soaking up the feeling, looking for those little details that will add the feeling of “realness” to the story.  In most photos, there are people looking back at me, and I’m trying to imagine them in those moments. What they were thinking, feeling; how each of their senses were engaged in that split-second when the shutter-eye closed and opened again. Slowly, but surely, I am falling under this story’s spell. And it’s wonderful.

4 responses to “My magic trick

  1. I too am an Early Morning writer, appreciating the creative flow after a heavy bout of Editing.

    I wish you luck on your Tasmanian adventures and research into your new book.
    Looking forward to meeting you in July.

  2. When I look at old Aussie photos, I see my Australia, the Australia that I will never know again; not because I am in the UK, but because it is gone. That makes ame a little sad, but I am sure a lot of people experience the same feelings. Ant the few times that my Australia still manages to touch me in my modern life, I feel more than a little teary.

  3. i love old photos. i used to transcribe 19th-century census data from microfiche and got the same kind of feeling from the names, occupations, ages. with old photos and the old census data, i’d get weepy thinking about the ones who are little. their grandkids are grandparents and great grandparents. don’t you wonder how those little kids in the photo turned out? i wonder if anyone will care about our old photos. are we leaving any behind in this digital age?

    enjoy your trip.

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