The Welsh talk about ‘hwyl‘ – meaning motivation – & I confess, over the past months mine has disappeared down the back of the sofa a bit. Not least with regard to this blog. Mislaid is perhaps a better description. And ‘found’ is laying down an expectation so all in all, the title of this post is a total misnomer! Whatever, I miss it; three months is, I think, the longest I’ve left it so today I shall scribble.
In those three months I have finished my fourth book – Only May – submitted it & been told by my delightful editor/publisher that she ‘likes May very much’. As in lockdown, so in publishing & the wheels turn slowly. To be honest, the pace has always suited me. Waiting to be ‘liked’ notwithstanding, working with a small press does mean a slower turn round than with bigger, busier presses. Because it takes me ages to write my stories, I’m perfectly content to wait.
While I do, I write. My word birds have been busy & although me & my hwyl are in ongoing negotiations, I have been showing up. (Writing a book is at least 75% showing up in my view.) The last few months then have seen me working on Book 5. It’s another ghost story. Gothic as all get out, it features a lady undertaker, a creepy old house, twin girls, a ghost & lots of sparrows. The hedge below my window hasn’t been cut through lockdown & the resident sparrows are revelling in their enhanced living quarters. They are defiantly, gregariously glorious! Who needs crows? they cry. Who needs magpies & rooks when they can have sparrows? Look at us – are we not magnificent little birds?
Quite. Hard to resist & once I began to map out the story I realised I wanted to include them. There is a magical thread involving these charming birds too; a story within the story if you like. Watch this space? Quite.
Only May is set in the 50s. Reluctant to write a book set in the present day (I have no desire to write a pandemic novel) for this new one I decided to go even further back in time. Between the wars to be precise. 1923. It’s another challenge. In no way am I a historical novelist (or a historian!) but I do find the era fascinating. The ‘Roaring Twenties’ & ‘Bright Young Things’ notwithstanding, after WW1 women were beginning to feel more empowered & confident. In Book 5, the Representation of the People Act, giving women like Lydia – my central character – the vote is still five years away. It doesn’t mean she isn’t brave & feisty; prepared to fight for what is her birthright. Or, when her life takes an unexpected turn, test her courage when her innate pragmatism is confronted by a ghost.
Nothing is truly lost – we may have lost a year (it could be another – who knows?) but for the writers, our imaginations never completely stop offering story ideas. I know mine doesn’t. It may be some time before I write here again, mind. On the other hand, it could be tomorrow. In the meantime, I shall do my best. Show up, scribble, read & ponder. Listen for the birds. Thank you for reading. Stay safe, be kind, & if you haven’t got one, be your own Valentine*! xXx
Jan Baynham said:
It’s so good to read about your new books, Carol, and especially that ‘Only May’ has been given the seal of approval by your editor. I love the way that as each one moves closer to being published, another idea is waiting in the wings. You know how much I love your writing so please keep them coming!
Such a treat to find you here today. And with sparrows! When we used to travel to North Wales to visit my mum we would often stop at Tintern on the way, where there was a bush much frequented by numerous sparrows. I could have watched them for hours.
I think ‘hywl’ is in short supply for many of us just now… it certainly is for me. Here’s to it returning fully replenished for us all.
Happy Valentine’s Day! x x x
Carol Lovekin said:
And a treat to find you finding me! ❤
Sorry it took a few days to reply – this & that. . .
Today I have a grip on my motivation but I'm not holding my breath. I show up – it's the best I can do. So long as we all show up, at some point, we'll continue to make the stories: paint them, write them, dance, sing & play them.
Love in abundance, dear Mags. xXx
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