Sunday, 20 December 2009

Craft One Ceremony

I've got to admit, I love to work through a self-development book.  Maybe it's the Virgo in me, but writers like Julia Cameron and Eric Maisel have been my creative friends, available at the flick of a page, ever since I realised that I wanted to write.  So, today, Eric Maisel says 'Craft One Ceremony'. A creative soul needs a moment's safety at the dawn and the close of the day; just reflecting, just being. So anyway I went to Neal's Yard in London's West End, in search of an exotic tea, Japanese perhaps, to drink for my tea ceremony each morning. My journey past the docks took me past the Port of London, once the busiest in the world for tea clippers. I thought of the hundreds of masts and spars that would have been there, barely less than a few generations past. 'Who needs anything different,' I thought. Back home as I pour my very British cuppa, I think of my hero and his struggle to make a living in the docks, like his ancestors and mine. I raise my mug to their tenacity, their laughter, their courage in times of war and peace. That's ceremony enough.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Lost Art Graveyard

'I'd like you to write a 2,500 word autobiography,' says Eric Maisel. The wind howls outside and the rain lashes down. 'I can't,' I think. 'I won't,' my mind shouts. I can't penetrate that whirling bundle of protective noise - the one that every artist uses to hide the creative centre of the soul. Tentatively, I put down a note about my first creative experiences, with my wax crayons in the back garden at Woodford Green. I remember a picture on the wall of our little Victorian School, and my astonishment when I noticed it was mine. I remember a week in the Scottish Highlands, painting for dear life. I remember sadness, the years when my art seemed like a love lost forever. I remember when I caught a glimpse of it again, a brief flash in the graveyard. I stand in the graveyard. It's not so scary. People picnic here in the summer. They bring their babies, their weddings and their loved ones at the last.The rain has stopped, the wind pauses. I beckon to Lost Art. I have plenty of time.

Jennifer Pittam is a winner of Coast-to-Coast Writing competition and is currently working on her first novel, 'Face The Champion'.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

With Anne in the Lucas Arms

Today I attended a writing class with Anne Aylor in the Lucas Arms, an old pub not far from Kings Cross Station. The class was a precious 'time in' with the artist soul. We wrote upstairs, lulled by the creaking pub sign and the smell of burning sage. Anne, a gifted novelist, has a talent for nurturing the embryo writer in others. For a precious day I found myself once more with Thomas Tarling, his charming and courageous woman Mary and the enigmatic leader of the fair, Zackariah Scarrott. 'One's religion,' said J.M. Barrie, is 'whatever one is most interested in'. Today, the religion of the practising writer was extended by a few more hours, in a London pub with the rain beating down on the streets outside.