Friday, 18 September 2009

Write a journal to keep up the writing habit.

I have written journals all my life. Writing a journal can be part of the daily practice of keeping ourselves limbered up as writers. The journal is the place where we can explore our innermost thoughts and so it can be our most private of places. But I also find that my journal is a safe and comfortable place to write a stream of consciousness about a character or a problem in my story. Allowing my pen to stream words across the page can help to get my writing back on track.
I always keep a daily journal when I travel. This often leads to a poem or piece of prose.
These photos and a journal extract are from a holiday on the Orkneys.

"A morning on Hoy - the wind has dropped and the sky is clear and blue. On the boat on the way out a biker joked, 'Could be the Caribbean, the sea so blue...' Old Norse prevails here, Olaf, Glumshom, Birsay, Kalfey. The sea is smooth as glass and the sun is large and bright in the sky, blazing in a cloudless blue. Up here you experience weather in all its glory...."

Back home I wrote this poem.

Arctic north

Orkney water changes by the hour

rough swell to glassy green,

beyond Noup Head

where two oceans meet,

Rossi dolphins rise and fall

like markers in the sea.

I could live here put down roots

rest my back on Brodgar’s Ring,

watch the red throat diver chicks

bobbing on the loch,

as the midday cargo boat leaves Hoy

and spring struggles out of winter.

I want to read by the midnight sun

bend my head to the Orkney wind.

But my skin dark in this Viking lair

lays down a different marker

my story strange

my home so far away.

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