A very quick post from me as I’m hurriedly packing a suitcase and getting ready to go off on World Book Day school visits for the rest of the week.
I was thinking about space and nature and the impact ‘wild’ spaces have had on my imagination and writing ideas – the most important and one of the very first outside places i fell in love with was a wood.
When I was young, the house where my parents lived, before they got divorced and where my dad lived for several years after, had a wood at the bottom of it.
It was actually the grounds of an old country house, which makes it sound very grand and posh indeed but it just so happened that our council house backed onto it – lucky us!
In those days, it was perfectly OK for children to be sent out of the house first thing in the morning and not be expected to come home until the street lights came on (yeah, I’m not THAT old! They were electric street lights thank you very much!)
It wasn’t a big wood, but it was big enough. Other houses backed onto the wood, houses where friends lived and so it was was our meeting place and our playground. It was amazing to have that place to go to, a place that could become an intergalactic battle ground, a country full of strange giants, witches and dragons, a place to build dens, to climb, adventure and most importantly to IMAGINE! Having that space away from distractions, away from adults encouraged us to create our own worlds and games.
The Great Wood, the magical forest in The Apprentice Witch, owes its existence to that wood. It was inevitable that there was an important part to be played by nature in my stories. Throughout literature woods are places of magic and mystery. And landscape plays a massive part in lots of my favourite books, the Wild Wood in Wind in the Willows, Mossflower Wood in the Redwall series by Brian Jacques – all because of those early days of running wild like a Ewok in the wood.
It is certainly one of the places that has inspired me most, somewhere that my imagination and inspiration could totally run wild and free – there were no boundaries or limits to what we could imagine and the adventures we had.
Even now if I am stuck with writing, one of the things I will do is go for a walk off across the fields near our house, being outside, in nature and widening the space around myself helps to free up the ideas – try it next time you get stuck!
But i do still find myself drawn to woods and trees and imagine all sorts of new stories that could be played out there – who knows perhaps they will make it onto the page one day. . .