|... the whole day stretched ahead of us, bright as the glistening rollers|
I’m a magpie when it comes to inspiration, seeing ideas in the work of other writers, photographers, painters, musicians, but what I’d never considered was that another artist might be inspired by my work. I’m plagued with far too much self-doubt for that. Yes, I’ve had short stories published, but does anyone read them?
Imagine my surprise and thrill when photography student, Susan Orr got in touch on Facebook requesting permission to use my short story, Jenny’s Well as a basis for her college project. I was delighted to agree. Susan read Jenny’s Well in a Scottish Book Trust anthology and felt the story of the young girl playing by the beach, wearing an itchy knitted jumper, stirred poignant memories of time spent with her granny during caravanning holidays. She wanted to know more about what inspired the story (a personal memory) and where the story was set (along the Moray coastline – northeast Scotland). It turned out that the place where Susan enjoyed childhood holidays was a picturesque village called Portsoy, which is about five miles from Cullen, the spot that featured in my story. We decided to meet.
|... the water ran clear and fresh as we cupped our hands, dipping our heads,|
making a wish as we drank...
As part of the project, Susan’s mum knitted an Aran cover for the workbook containing her course notes. How amazing does it look? Susan then invited a young actress friend to Portsoy to re-enact extracts from Jenny’s Well.
|Photographer, Susan Orr with the|
Aran covered workbook...
I was as fascinated by Susan’s work as she appeared to be with mine. She drew further inspiration from photographer Martin Parr, whose work is bright and vivid, focusing on the mundane to reveal the extraordinary. You can check out his amazing work using this link.
|... We picked our way steadily between briny rock pools, slipping sometimes...|
I suspect this may be the only time my fiction is brought to life via photographs. When Susan showed me the amazing photo-book she has created, I struggled to hold back tears! To have my wee short story touch someone in a way that inspired her to create something new is a privilege. Susan was kind enough to allow me to share some of her work.
|... There was a swing set beside the chippers, so I gripped the rusty chains,|
kicking high as I could...
But as if that wasn’t fantastic enough, then publishing student Alison Donn asked if she might use extracts from my Doric short story The Whole Hog within a zine she is creating, showcasing contemporary Scottish and Doric writing, as part of her MSc in Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University. Again, I was honoured to help.
|Extracts from The Whole Hog included with a zine|
created by Alison Donn...
So which artists, whichever medium, have inspired your practice? Or has your work inspired others to create something new? Or does the thought of wearing a scratchy knitted jumper bring back fond childhood memories?
|Writers love notebooks, perhaps beautiful Aran covers will catch on...|
Huge thanks to both Susan and Alison for not only reading my work but also requesting extracts and creating something fresh and exciting. Good luck to them both with their future studies.