Writing to Me is …
by Hannah Fielding
… the realisation of a childhood dream. From a young age I adored stories, especially those with a romantic slant. At the knee of my governess, Zula, I listened to tales of exotic, faraway lands, beautiful princesses and handsome princes. At the age of seven we struck a deal: for each tale she told me, I would relate one of my own – and that day my passion for creating romantic stories was born. As I matured, I devoured romance books, and finally the idea formed in my mind that one day I could write my own. It’s an idea I carried with me over so many years, and now, when I write, I think fondly of the little girl I once was and am so glad that I have made her dreams come true.
… escapism. Reading, for me, has always been a means of escaping to scenes more colourful and vibrant and passionate than everyday reality. Writing takes me a step further, allowing me to create the world of my imaginings. I can start the day discussing business with my husband and planning the menu for dinner, and then an hour later be lost in a bygone era full of poignancy and atmosphere. In fact, the escapism is so tempting that my biggest problem as a writer is knowing when to stop writing. Some days, I could quite happily write into the night and lose all sense of the real world around me. It’s not uncommon, while writing, for me to become aware of my surroundings – my home office in Kent, or my garden in France – with a start and feel for a moment disorientated, so transported had I been to Africa or Italy or Spain.
… discovery. Before I write a book, I immerse myself in several months of research – visiting the country in which the book is set, watching films set there, listing to music and reading widely on history, folklore, culture and settings. Once, I even posed as a Spanish gypsy for an afternoon to immerse myself in the culture. I love this part of the writing process, because I learn so much and am then able to write from a place of grounded knowledge.
… an expression of self. When I finish writing a chapter and I read it back to myself, there is always a sense that my self, as author, is infused into the words. The writing is not just mine; I am the writing. My writing is a way to express myriad emotions and thoughts and observations.
… joy. Of course there are days when the muse is elusive; when a single sentence becomes a beast to be battled into submission. But overall, in writing there is such a sense of calm and fulfilment. To wake up each day and do what I love most, what I have always loved most, is such a joy.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Writing to Me is …