Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Sunday, 30 March 2014

Moving forward, looking back, by Linda Mitchelmore


Back in the day, before ever I put pen to paper to write, I used to go to a Keep Fit class. The teacher was an ex ballet dancer called Beryl. Her accent was hard to define….a bit Scottish, a hint of London, a soupcon of English northern regional, a tad Queen Mother, with a thread of American in there for good measure. She’d danced all over the world and seaside Devon wasn’t going to keep her there for long. ‘I never go back,’ she said at her leaving ‘do’. ‘Only forward.’ She never kept in touch with anyone from her travels either. She was a woman happy in her own skin.

But we can’t all be like that, although it doesn’t mean we have to stay in our little ruts either. And especially so when it comes to writing. It’s good to try new things although I know I am never, ever, going to attempt writing paranormal!

I have always said I wouldn’t write about war….there was a part of me that was uncomfortable about making money out of something that was so tragic and devastating to so many, and if I am honest, there still is. So, what have I started writing? Only just that. It was a photo of my father in his Army uniform that did. He was an old romantic, my dad, although not in the hearts and flowers department. He was in Italy during the war and bought the material for my mother’s wedding dress there. My mother – a gifted dressmaker – made the dress and I still have it. She also did her best to teach me how to sew but I hated it. My heroine in the third book of my ‘Emma’ trilogy (currently on my publisher’s desk and awaiting edits) is running an haute couture dressmaking business, so my mother must have drilled something into me as I drag out memories of watching her cutting a pattern from old newspapers and waxing thread to make it stronger. My heroine, Emma, has a French father. Now where did that come from? Ah well, I have the answer to that. When I was thirteen I went on a school exchange to Rouen and during my time there I came to love the French language and Emma speaks French in my trilogy. My past – and my parents’ pasts – is forming my writing future so it seems, even if I don’t always realise it. I don’t know where this new venture will lead me – and at the moment I am writing it for my own satisfaction, using multi-viewpoint which I haven’t used before – but I know I am going to enjoy the journey. As I write it I am seeing again my home as it was in the late 1940s and early 1950s. I can almost smell the blackcurrant jam my mother made every July. And I swear my fingers can feel those flimsy tissue paper garlands we hung up at Christmas, and which I carefully folded back again for re-use.

I have to say here that I am not the sort of person who wallows in the past – I couldn’t tell you the dates, or even the years, that my parents and my much loved aunt and uncle, and various cousins, died but that isn’t to say they are forgotten. And I can see now that they will always be with me in the memories I drag out to put into future works.



15 comments:

  1. Such an evocative post, Linda, thank you. You are great at using those five senses! Good luck with the multi viewpoint - I find it much easier than just using one. I look forward to finding out how you get on.You look so sweet by that pond in Rouen, by the way!

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    1. Thanks, Jenny. Sweet? An ingenue, perhaps? I find the more I write, the more of my past I remember....:)

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  2. A lovely post, Linda. I don't know who said it but some said 'Our past informs our present' and that seems to be so true.
    Does anyone know who said it?

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    1. I don't know who said it, Mary.....but maybe someone will. Thanks for passing by to comment.

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  3. What a beautiful post Linda. Its one of those you would read every word no matter le length. I of course am a sucker for history. I'm sure your book will be a great success and I cannot wait to read it someday.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Wendy.....I'm so pleased you enjoyed reading it.

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  4. So thoughtful, Linda - and so true! I also used to be a never-go-back person but now I'm not. Maybe getting older has something to do with it?

    I love the sound of the new book, too.

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    1. New book in its infancy but I am enjoying multi-viewpoint writing....well, if it was good enough for Maeve Binchey.....:)

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  5. Lovely. I hadn't thought about how much our own past weaves itself into our books. Good luck with the new one. And the photos are brilliant!

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    1. Thanks, Gill.....I think I enjoy finding photos to go with a blog post as enjoyable as writing the post itself....photo-journalism anyone?

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  6. Lovely post, Linda - fascinating memories and I'm sure the novel will be too!

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  7. Thanks, Rosemary.....good to see you pop by.

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  8. Lovely post Linda, I could almost taste the jam! Since getting older I have been a go back in time person, not necessarily a good thing.. It takes courage to change direction with your writing, and I wish you every success with your new venture .. Rosy

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    1. Thank you for popping by Rosemary.....good to see you here.

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  9. Hello Linda - I don't know how I managed to miss this lovely post but I really enjoyed every word. Good luck with your writing as always.x

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