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Warning... Unorthodox Hall blog alert... Danger...

Yesterday (and don't fret too much, it didn't last long), just briefly, I felt a little profound.


I was wandering along my dear River Exe, the evening was a stunning one, being enjoyed by many, and I thought...

How precious, yet easily taken for granted, is the simple blessing of freedom. 

To be, to do, to think and to feel. To breathe the air, hear the birdsong, let the sunshine soothe your skin. 

Many a tyrant has tried to curtail freedom. And it can work - for a while. But only a while. 

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I've often said it's impossible for a writer to have a holiday. The mind is always buzzing inescapably with ideas, no matter what.

But it is possible - and important - to take breaks.

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These wonderfully cute goslings were some of the stars of the Devon County Show, which I visited on Thursday.

To be honest, it was a totally unjustified few hours out. I had far too much work on, but...

I had the sense I needed a break. Everything I had to do was crowding in on me; the teaching, new book, screenplay I'm working on.

I felt myself getting tense, rather than enjoying the writing, and that's never a good sign.

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Solitary Beauty and a Swan

As I was walking along my dear River Exe yesterday, I spotted and snapped a picture which made me think of writing life - 

SwAN blog.JPG

What's he talking about now, you may well ask? (Which I know must be a familiar feeling for readers of my musings.)

Firstly, I saw the loneliness of being a writer.

For all that people talk about the glamour and joy of the job, it can be a very solitary existence.

Sitting here in my study, tapping away, day after day, and always wondering if what you're doing is any good and will ever see some form of publication. 

On a pure writing day, I can get to the end of it and realise I haven't actually had a conversation with anyone, the imaginary friends of my characters aside. 

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Real Feeling

My study is full of great memories of my writing life, and they all help make for a creative atmosphere.

But there is perhaps one thing in here which is the most important to me - 


I know it's retro, but I'd be lost without my old style stereo system and stack of vinyl (today's choice, as I write this, is Queen live.)

The records mostly come from my DJ days, many years ago, and they've always been precious to me. But they've taken on a new importance in the years since I started writing. 

Why? Well, it's because I'm one of those old bores who insist music sounds better on vinyl.

I don't think you can beat the sensation of the needle on the record, that physical contact, and what it brings to the listening experience. 

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The Writing Season

Spring is the season of writing for me. 

It's not just some emotional whim on my part (as usual). I have evidence! The writing world definitely comes back to life in the springtime. 

For example - I've just been asked to do a couple of events. Next month, I'm teaching at the fab Winchester Writers' Festival, and after that comes the wonderful Swanwick School. 

But perhaps more than just that, I've felt an uplift in the creativity, like sunshine through the clouds... 

SpRiNg blog.JPG

(Cue one of Simon's photos from his beloved River Exe this week - amazing cloud streams. How can you not be uplifted walking in a world underneath that?)

Maybe it's the return of light to the land, or warmth, but spring somehow spurs the writing energy. 

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