Moments of Pleasure

Today is Kate Bush’s birthday, so of course – OF COURSE – I have been listening to her pretty much all evening. Moments of Pleasure has always been a favourite, but it resonates with me particularly because it reminds me to think of those moments of pleasure, big and small, shared, and solitary, that in my darker days are so easily lost.

So here is the video to what is, in my opinion, a perfect song. It is, for me, a moment of pleasure.

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I need… something.

I need something. Something new. Something to inspire me, to lift me up and set me down facing a new direction. Music? That might do it, but what? A new place perhaps, somewhere unexpected that I might stumble upon. Narnia? (Excuse me while I giggle into yet another latte). I need something new, something to fall in love with that will spur me on. The sky’s clear blue promise of spring fills me with a quiet yet unreasoning hopefulness – but hope of what? That much remains unclear. Not that I’m complaining; far from it! For the first time in I don’t know how many years, January is not imbued with drear hopelessness. Instead I have a bounce in my step, things seem clearer, sharper, cleaner. But still I need something, the psychological equivalent of marmalade, with that zingy tangy bitterness that wakens the palate. And after a week lost to over-tiredness and some highly questionable onion soup, I must step up a gear and GET ON with the writing/editing/imagining stuff. And I must find some lychees from somewhere.

Meanwhile, I am reading Jasper Fforde’s Shades of Grey. It is excellent, in a category inhabited solely by Jasper Fforde, and also deeply strange, and I’m sure it was responsible for the  peculiar dreams that I tasted last night, but now cannot quite remember.

On regenerating those little grey cells.

Every writer needs to do it at some point, just get away from the mundanities of so-called normal life – the importance of Getting Away From It All is not to be underestimated. My day-to-day process of living largely revolves around my small daughter, so to be honest anything out of the ordinary, even for half a day, can act as a tremendous stimulus to my brain. But a whole weekend away – in heavenly Devon – and in perfect weather, has been a rare and wonderful treat indeed. In recent years the only time I’ve had to myself to escape and recharge has been the occasional long walk up a particularly steep hill. It’s a worthwhile stroll though; the view is a lovely one, even in thick winter mist. In the thick of the January snows this year I went for an eerie walk after midnight – an experience I was able to use in the fantasy work-in-progress-that-has-temporarily-going-on-for-five months-now ground to a halt. But the walk helped. Seeing the valley in which I live smothered under that silent sky, while the brook rushed endlessly nearby, helped. Saying hello to trees and hills and clouds – or last weekend, the sea – blows away those cobwebs, opens up the pokier recesses of my brain to let in the light, and stimulates the creative juices. I’ve had all sorts of odd ideas in the last few days – whether they’ll amount to anything is really neither here nor there, the simple fact that new synapses are firing their random bursts of electricity is enough for me.

Music has always been a source of inspiration. Some music I find invaluable to write to – for example Howard Shore’s Complete Scores for The Lord Of The Rings are perfect whilst writing the aforementioned fantasy epic. And new music conjures new thoughts and feelings, or a new light to see them by. One character – the infamous Bellisa – even has her own playlist. If I’m going to make any headway in the task I’ve signed up for (the one that begins tomorrow – see previous post) I’d better decide which music will suit. In the meantime, I have felt moved to make a list of four letter words, scrawled so far across three pages in my current Moleskine. I know, I know, an odd response to three days away, but hey, that just goes to show the unfathomable workings of the mind. Or my mind, at any rate.

So how do YOU do it? What does it take to kick YOUR brain into gear? What gets your creative juices flowing?