"FUIMUS - We Have Been"

"FUIMUS - We Have Been!" motto of Clan Bruce


All material on SHIMMERCASTDREAMS copyright of Marie Bruce and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Friday, 29 June 2012

WRITER'S DREAM; Initiation



Just Like Jo March…
Anyone who has read Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women will recognise the character of Josephine March, the young writer with big ambitions and a rebel soul. When I first read this novel at the tender age of eleven I was charmed by Jo for she epitomised everything I wanted to be.  Like Jo I was something of a tomboy and spent my childhood getting into scrapes with my older brother; I loved horses and I had big dreams to be a writer one day, so I took my cue from Jo and set about ‘scribbling rubbish’ in my spare time.  I have been scribbling ever since and to date I have published books, columns, articles, poems, songs and correspondence courses. I have millions of published words to my credit.  Josephine March served as my initiation into the writing life and I have never looked back.
            Fictional characters such as Jo March and Anne Shirley have provided inspiration for many would-be writers over the years since the books Little Women and Anne of Green Gables were first published. Other would-be writers, myself included, have found their literary idols in the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy, as well as other great classic authors.   So my question is; who initiated you?  Was it a character from a novel or an author? Perhaps it was someone else entirely, not related to the publishing world; say for example an actor or director who inspired you to try your hand at screen writing.
At some stage in the past you decided that you wanted to become a writer.  Why did you make that decision and what or who inspired you to do so.  Who or what initiated you into the writing life?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Bookstore Browsing.

As a bookworm and a writer I adore bookshops.  I love wandering around them, soaking up the atmosphere...so many writers represented, so many dreams of publication that have come true...it gives me the good shivers!  Like libraries bookshops have a very quiet, peaceful atmosphere and when I worked in admin for the local Law Society in the busy city center I would use my lunch break to duck into a bookstore and just enjoy the peace away from the office.  Lots of bookshops now have cafes within so you can enjoy a soothing mug of hot mocha and a cinnamon spice cookie while you ponder on what kind of books to purchase.  I cannot go into any bookshop, new or used, and come out empty handed - I've tried, but I find it impossible as there is always something that grabs my attention and that I want to read.  I wander around all the sections, lingering in favorite genres such as historical fiction, MBS (it is always a buzz to find myself there!), beauty, poetry, classics, history, art...so much knowledge just waiting to be absorbed by the reader.

My favorite bookstore chain is Waterstones - I love the dark wooden bookcases lined back to back to form corridors of books, the browsing tables piled high with the newest releases, the cosy carpeting inviting one to sit in a corner and read the first pages of a possible purchase. As a new writer in my early 20's struggling to make the writing pay, I spent a short time working in a local branch and the thing which struck me was how much Waterstones employees all love books; indeed many of them are trying to get published in their own right. I was already published at the time and my work was on the shelves, but it made me realize that writers are naturally drawn to the book publishing world, even if only on the fringe, working in bookshops.

I browse in bookshops quite frequently, and I do enjoy digging through the piles of old books in used bookstores.  By far the very best used bookstore I have ever been in was a converted church in Inverness, Scotland....piles and piles of antique books of all genres; the choir gallery above was a coffee shop and the checkout point was in the carved wooden pulpit!  It was full of atmospheric charm and I can't wait to go back there in autumn.  New books have a different charm; the feel of a brand new first edition in your hands that has never been read by anyone is a simple joy.  The discovery of a new-to-you novelist whose work you instantly love; the pleasure of anticipating the next release by a favorite author and the excitement of an unexpected  find is like the discovery of treasure!

Although I browse in bookshops a lot, I also make planned visits which I save my money for so I can enjoy a splurge!  I make a reading list of books I want to buy and save a little extra cash for the unexpected reads which demand to be purchased. I see these splurges as necessary investments as I continue to expand my personal library of books and increase my research materials.  For me it is one of the nicest ways to spend an afternoon; a lingering trip to the bookstore, coming out with carrier bags full of new books, then settling down at home with a cup of coffee, going through the book pile and deciding which book to read first.

Reading is one of the great pleasures in life and I am always aware at the back of my mind, that there was a time in the past when women were forbidden to read books at all!  Now women are published authors, novelists, poets, diarists, journalists, scriptwriters and more.  As an author my life is weighed up in words; words read and written; an exchange of ideas between author and reader, a silent conversation.  Once my own daily word count as an author is accomplished, I am free to curl up with the work of a fellow writer...I will be spending this afternoon in the company of Philippa Gregory, with my cat Pyewackett curled beside me as I make my escape into the pages of a novel.  I cannot think of a better way to drift and dream on a dull grey day. Happy Reading!