|... 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.
What a wonderful, fascinating post, Rae! Congratulations on your stories inspiring two different projects. Love when writing and photography/art come together like this and the photos certainly do your story justice. The only experience I've had is when a painting inspired one of my stories that went on to win a national prize. You should never doubt how much your writing might touch others - more power to your pen!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for reading and sharing, Rosemary. Susan's photographs definitely capture the innocent feel I tried to convey in the story. I love them - but then I am a touch biased! It doesn't surprise me that your writing has been inspired by paintings, as you share such beautiful photographs too. : )Delete
How wonderful to have inspired people in this way! Great post.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Kath. It's been lovely to connect with other creatives and I look forward to keeping in touch with them and seeing where their work takes them next.Delete
What a wonderful example of collaboration. Two experts combining to deliver excellence.ReplyDelete
Aw thank you so much for dropping by and for your kind words too.Delete
Wonderful! How exciting and inspirational. Looking forward to reading more of your work, Rae and seeing where it will take you.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for dropping by, Sareen and for sharing too. You are a star! : )Delete
What a lovely thing to happen. Thank you for sharing your experience, Rae. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks Victoria. The nicest part of the story is that Susan lives nearby and we plan to keep in touch. : )Delete
So brilliant! Lovely to hear your wonderful story has inspired other creatives. Well done Rae xReplyDelete
Thanks, Megs. Other authors and creatives have been so generous to me over the years. It was a pleasure to connect with both Susan and Alison.Delete
Oh my, how wonderful and how inspirational in so many ways. You must be thrilled, Rae.ReplyDelete
I began to cry when I saw the photo-book, it was just so wonderful to see how Susan had interpreted my writing. Her work captures the essence of the story perfectly. I was transported back to the early 80s again!Delete
Really sorry to be so late commenting here Rae, but what a wonderful thing to happen. So inspirational. Lovely that you are staying in touch too.xReplyDelete
Oh don’t worry, Jennie. Life gets in the way sometimes... It has been interesting talking about story with Susan, learning something of what a photographer must consider when embarking on a new project.Delete