Monday, October 6, 2008
What do Irvine Welsh, the author of Trainspotting, Robert Burns, known as the Ploughman Poet or the Bard of Ayrshire, Sir James Barrie, creator of Peter Pan, Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, Sean Connery, the actor best known for playing James Bond, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Alexander Fleming, credited with discovering penicillin, Eric Henry Liddell, the Olympic athlete whose life was immortalized in the film Chariots of Fire, John Muir, considered the father of the modern environmental movement, Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, Alastair Sim, best known (to me) in the role he played as Scrooge in the 1951 film, Muriel Spark, author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and Robert Louis Stevenson, best known for his adventure stories, Kidnapped and Treasure Island have in common?
Why, they along with scores of other famous artists, scientists and historical figures were all born in Scotland!
And on Wednesday, Scott and I will be on our way to visit Scotland for ten days. Scott was invited along on a trip with about ten other American painters and yours truly will be along for the ride.
Despite the fact I lived in England from 1981-1983, I never made it to Scotland, so I'm really looking forward to the visit.
Our stay will be split between two different Manor Houses -- and the first is apparently within fifty yards of Rosslyn Chapel. We'll have a rental car and we plan to keep our plans pretty fluid, so wish us luck.
To be honest, I am looking forward to leaving the country and unplugging for ten days because frankly, I think I'm at the limit of sensory overload with all the news about the election and the economy. And despite the last post I did about progress on my own work, I've not yet found the end of The Foundling Wheel, so I hope the time and distance from my job and the day to day distractions will give me some room to spend time with my characters and work this out.
In the past, long flights have been a great environment for writing -- at least as long as the laptop battery lasts. Nothing promotes "ass in chair" quite like a transatlantic flight. I've also been choosing, discarding and re-choosing those few books from the TBR stack that I want to take along, but I've also loaded the Kindle up. Not only do I have ebooks, but I've also downloaded Crime and Punishment from Audible.com, so I have lots of options for reading.
I hate to say that we're leaving not a moment too soon. Tomorrow night the second Presidential Debate will be on and of course we'll be watching, but the last couple of days have given me a queasy, creepy feeling. the campaigns are getting uglier and for the same reason I don't watch reality TV, I don't want to watch as the rhetoric becomes even nastier.
I'm looking forward to lots of productive writing time, whether it's on TFW or even random observations as we meander from village to village.
I read at Therese Fowler's blog, Making it Up that October is National Book Club Month, and it got me thinking. So many of us have towering TBR stacks, wouldn't it be nice if we could choose a book that lots of us want to read and target some future date that we'd like to blog about it? Just an idea. October is too far gone, but I'll take my inspiration from this month. Perhaps we could choose a book sometime over the next few weeks and then choose a date around the first of the year to blog about it -- no need to pressure ourselves more than we already do.
We've got people with tastes all over the map, but we might just get lucky and if four or five of us can agree on a selection, I think that would be pretty cool. Think about it and let me know if you'd be interested and if so, maybe suggest a list of books you're interested in reading that might be more interesting if you knew others were reading them too.
I've got at least a couple of hundred books in my TBR stack (seriously), so I'll try to come up with my own list of suggestions if there's interest.
There are lots of good Scottish sayings and one I find would serve me well in my writing is, "say but little and say it well." For more Scottish wisdom, see a longer list here or here.
And on that note, I'll be back on line on October 18th or 19th, unless I'm shocked and find that one of the spooky old manor houses has wireless...hmm.
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It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.