I’m in research mode right for a short story. I like this bit of the process, this and the editing part. Mostly the connecting of ideas from research is conducted inside my head. A lot of copying and pasting and browsing and reading and happening across items and ideas online and IRL (yeah I know) happens as a result of the wondering.
This time I’m working up ideas about language and books and the language of books. I mean, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone if I reveal that I love books. That lignin vanilla scent. Those times when, as I gently fall asleep with a hard back, my fingers are squeezed blue so I don’t lose the page. Ok, except for that last bit.
I highly recommend going to see old books. Mirror of the World at the State Library of Victoria is a good start for anyone in the City of Literature (Melbourne). I saw their Medieval Imagination exhibition a few years ago and this permanent display is like the leftovers. But still amazing. Look how far books have come. In 50 years will people be visiting exhibitions of Kindles and Kobos and iPads?
Then there are opportunities to BUY old books. Or bits of old books. I’m in two minds about this. On the one hand, I could buy an 800 year old hand written and hand-made page of writing! Yet for me to buy that page means someone took an ancient book apart and sold it off leaf by leaf. Interestingly, the more decorated the page is, the more it is worth. Such pages are valued for their artist merit and age, rather than for their contents. Not sure how their creators would feel about this. Then I came across this. Artists continuing the tradition.
Anyway that’s what I’ve been thinking about in terms of my own writing and thinking about my writing. Partly in response to class requirements and partly because, well because. Interesting, but it’s a wait and see if it leads to anything amounting to a story.
Books and stories about books are not new. Foucault’s Pendulum comes to mind for starters. But the thing about following ideas is working in spaces others leave. Developing a story is colonising a space. My words, my voice, what I write that happens all happens in the realm I make for it. A little niche. It doesn’t have to be original. What is original anyway? As Christian Slater once said in this film, all the ideas have been used up and turned into theme parks, but how I write something, how I shape that idea and turn it so it reflects my writing voice. That bit is original. There is a mountain of literature out there, as well as films and poetry and art, but there is a crevice that my story can cling to and grow in. I hope.
Dr Who: The Feast of the Drowned – Done. Voices ok, writing meh.
Landscape and Memory by Simon Schama. – Reading in progress. Interesting. Makes me want to go to Lithuania.