Writing in the new year


So, New Year’s Day dawned… a time when the sun rose in a sky that looked like a pastel painting over a frosted landscape, when the world was silent, largely hungover and all partied out. It had been a quiet and very early night at mine, with the inexcusably early start catching up with both my guest and I long before midnight. The last thing I had heard was Ani warning off revellers.

I scraped the ice from the car… the first real sign of winter. The roads were empty as I drove to work, leaving my guest already reading through the final draft of the opening ritual of the April workshop.

starlings new year 2015 015

A kestrel waited for me in a tree, swooping down as I drove past. A buzzard perched on a fence, waiting for the sun to rise and its breakfast to wake. My son was already up and talking about his book before I even arrived. Thirty-thousand words in, he is doing well.

He didn’t keep me too long, then it was back home to breakfast. I walked in on a scene that demanded the camera; Ani’s face was as eloquent as Tolkien while she waited for attention. Breakfast over, we got stuck into the script, ironing out the bugs in the ‘stage directions’ before getting it ready to print… and by lunchtime we were ready to head off to a quiet country pub for a read through.

new year 2015 ani

As with any editing, it helps enormously to see the words translated from screen to paper; discrepancies missed on the screen jump off the page, especially when read aloud. We were pleased with the result… and the birds seemed to agree as a cloud of starlings settled around the pub while we watched the low flying kite circle the little village.

Back home, an hour fiddling with small details and the ritual was completed. The whole of the workshop has been written or sketched out for some time now, awaiting just the final additions, which have to go in when they are ready…when what you have shaped has had time to filter through the denser layers and prod your understanding in the right place. What comes out at the other end has to be both as clear and flowing as a stream, but as many-faceted as a gem that is capable of catching and refracting the light differently for every person who takes part in one of these workshops, no matter what their spiritual background and history, no matter what they bring to the moment as a viewpoint.

kite new year 2015 018

After that, we felt we had worked enough for one day and settled down with a glass of wine to indulge in a bit of Hobbitry, watching some of the background to the movie version and marveling at the depth and attention to detail in the production… and we had been agonising over a few bits of lighting… before talking about the depth and scope of Tolkien’s work… and wondering how anyone could possibly compete with the creation of an entire world, its Otherworld, history, myths and languages.

Writing isn’t about competing though…or it shouldn’t be. Those things that spring fresh from heart and imagination have a spark that is all their own. It doesn’t really matter that the types of stories we can tell are few in number, we can dress them in an infinite variety of ways… it matters only that the tale is whole in itself. For the workshop, for example, we have drawn on the many sources from which we have read and learned over the years… what will emerge will be none of those, and what we have written will be unique for everyone who takes part, as, like reading book, each person brings themselves to the moment, complete with their own personalities, experience and emotions.

As the day draws to a close, my guest and the dog are both asleep. Tomorrow will dawn as it chooses and another day will unfold as we move into a new year. It will begin with the same routine as always and our plan for the day almost identical to today. Yet tomorrow too will be unique… one day amongst many. Like the starlings, each is special in its own way… even when they may seem the same and move in the same direction, no two moments are ever the same and each may take flight without warning.

murmumration of starlings new year2015 026

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
This entry was posted in Birds, Books, Dogs, Photography, workshop 2016, writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Writing in the new year

  1. I haven’t seen a flock of starlings like that in many long years. It brings back memories. Funny ones and sad ones. I have read — as a judge — more than 50 fantasy novels in the past 8 weeks and I am super-saturated with author-built worlds. It made me realize just how many awful books get published every year … and what a genius Tolkien was.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. BunKaryudo says:

    Even for the limited amount of writing I do, I always do the bulk of the editing from a hard copy. It’s amazing the difference it makes. I just wish I had a quiet country pub nearby to do the editing in.


  3. Pingback: Writing in the new year | oshriradhekrishnabole

  4. jenanita01 says:

    I see you are up and running already, Sue. I’m still dragging my heels…


  5. adeleulnais says:

    loved this post. The imagery in your words along with the photos enabled me to be a ghost in your day. Thank you. Also Tolkien, a master and genius.


  6. Here’s to your days…always taking flight in the new year. ☺


  7. Mary Smith says:

    Lovely post, Sue. And I love the photo of the starlings. We have a murmuration which can be seen near Gretna – and amazing sight.


  8. smackedpentax says:

    Beauiful writing Sue – and the photos are superb.


  9. Eliza Waters says:

    I saw my first murmuration of starlings this fall – amazing phenomenon to witness!


  10. Helen Jones says:

    A lovely post, Sue – and the first photo is just gorgeous! Hope you enjoyed your Hobbitry 🙂


  11. Lovely and peaceful read, Sue. The Tolkien references struck a chord and Ani certainly does have the expression of the master down perfectly. So many things to comment on, but I’ll leave it at that. Oh, other than to marvel at how much Nick has written! Clearly prolific like his mom. 🙂


  12. Widdershins says:

    Oh, those Ani eyes! 😀


  13. Ali Isaac says:

    What a lovely peaceful start to the year for you. You sound so content.


  14. noelleg44 says:

    We have flocks of starlings like that at least once a year, usually in the spring. Sounded like a perfect day to me, Sue, and that look on Ani’s face is priceless. She is one expressive dog,


    • Sue Vincent says:

      I love starlings… they are such beautiful birds, even though I know some people see them as a nuisance.
      Ani has to be the most expressive dog I have ever known 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.