When the creative juices are running low, I often spend a little bit of time visiting some of the people, places and things which have inspired me to write over the years. Obviously these are very personal to me, but they might help you think about some of your own.
I am adopted. When I first discovered Noel Streatfeild‘s classic Ballet Shoes as a Tweener I became enthralled in the world of possibilities and creativity. Of the three sisters I can most closely relate to Pauline, but there is also a little bit of Petrova and Posy in me. Perhaps, if G.U.M. had brought home a fourth Fossil, she would have been called Philippa, and she would have been a writer!
This book still captivates me to this day. Not only does it inspire me to “save the penny and walk” wherever I can, it also reminds me that our destiny is never defined by our past, and in the present the opportunities and possibilities are ours for the taking. There literally are no limits as to what I can do.
Lucia Graves, daughter of the poet Robert Graves, and author in her own right, is a friend of the family. As a result we spent a number of summers in the delightful village of Deià, Majorca. Deià was a hotbed of creative people, and I remember being surrounded by actors, artists, dancers, writers and musicians, all of which have inspired me over the years to find my own creative voice and expression.
I get disheartened with the cult of celebrity these days, where someone becomes famous for being on a reality television show, and it’s newsworthy to report that a celebrity was seen wearing a bikini. To me it’s not about whether or not someone is famous, but rather whether or not they ooze creative energy and inspiration. When I am surrounded by such people I tend to ooze that same creative energy myself. I shall always be thankful when it happens, and Deja is one such place.
As a teenager I became a member of the youth section of Watford Palace Theatre. It was referred to as Theatreyard, and I spent many a happy Wednesday evening improvising, learning lines, and pretending to be someone else. My most memorable appearance was as Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’ll always remember going into my dressing room, which had previously been occupied by Jane Lapotaire, only to find a mouldy tea bag in a dirty pot!
Michael Attenborough was the Artistic Director during this time and he was a magnet for some incredible talent. I saw plays with Jane Lapotaire, Roger Rees, Mel Smith, Griff Rhys Jones, Rik Mayall, Simon Cadell, to name but a few. As I sat in the dress circle, eyes wide with wonder at their impeccable timing and delivery, I didn’t wish I could be them, I wished I could write for them. I never did show the leaders of Theatreyard any of my ideas. If I had I expect they would have supported and encouraged me. A missed opportunity perhaps, but also a very good reminder not to hide what I have written but to put it out there and see what happens.
I couldn’t possible write a blog about inspirational people, places and things without including J.K. Rowling. This is an early picture of her when she still wrote in a coffee shop. I like it because it reminds me where she came from, a place I can certainly relate to.
What she has taught me is that it is possible to write in the midst of adversity, to never give up trying, and that the only limits are the limits of our imagination. I have absolutely no desire to write like her, despite loving her work. Instead I want to find my own voice, and help it to sing. I equally have no desire to write about witches and wizards, despite being entertained for hours by the Harry Potter novels. Rather, I have felt inspired by her to dream up my own kind of world that I would like to live in, and hope that maybe, one day, some of my readers would like to join me there too.