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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Hell-ooooo Out There!

I have returned.

Me hanging out with Bill at Shakespeare's Birthplace last year

Well, I never really went anywhere -- just to hell and back, as some of you may or may not recall from a few of my poignant and terrible previous posts. I kept on promising that I'd try harder and keep up the blog. For so many reasons (and no reason at all) I found I didn't have the need or the drive... and so I left this poor blog on the side of the road to fend for itself.

There had been more death and loss in my immediate circle than life and joy in recent times, and healing has been both necessary and slow. I don't think I'm all the way back yet. I don't think the old me will ever quite manage to come back fully restored, and that is simply the way of it.

If you really want gory details, go back a few posts and you'll see what I went through. And the worst was yet to come in the ongoing saga with the loss of my Mom in December of 2015. I still feel rudderless in the wake of Mom's death, and am adjusting day-by-day to my relatively new status as an orphan.

But it's not all doom and gloom. I have been working on my health and have made good progress. I have been writing a wonderful, odd story that eventually became a novel... and that in turn seems to be Part One of Three. The world of Haresmoor is layered with ancient mysteries. At its heart, there lies an age-old battle between the Cunning Ways and the titled nobility who have taken over their sacred lands. It is a strange feat of imagination but set in a specific real place and time -- Wiltshire at the very end of World War I. I am finding my grandmother's voice and my mother's within the pages. Izzy is the girl at the centre-- the last of her Cunning kind with a long, hard road ahead. There is a rambling manor house full of secrets and long-suffering staff. A stone circle crowned by rooks and magpies. Animal characters have presented themselves: tricksters and helpmeets, primarily Meep the cat, Crow and Fox. I'm loving the weird invention of it all and am reveling in exploring language in new ways. What is Haresmoor? It's Englsh Folk Horror. It's Magic Historical Realism. Who knows? The genre might be a tricky one to nail down! "Downtown Abbey meets Harry Potter," a friend quipped. But that sort of pastiche is too easy and simplistic... though that sort of broad appeal would be welcomed by me!

Avebury Stone Circle, 2016.

It's meant my returning to the U.K. and tramping about in search of visceral details. If I can make the trip yearly, I shall. In a perfect world, I'd split my time equally between Ontario and England. That is still the goal -- despite the fact that the England in my mind doesn't match the depressing reality all that much these days. But my stories live there. My soul lives there, entwined in the family roots and embedded in its soil. I'll share imagery and words in my coming posts.

Other news! Base Spirits has been adapted as a screenplay by a Toronto filmmaker, Carolyn Kelly, and I'm now combing through the novel manuscript ahead of taking a pass through the script. It is instructive to revisit old work and see just how much I have since grown as a writer.

Haresmoor is the present main creative focus. I am closing in on the complete first draft and then the editing and rewriting will begin. I am also actively seeking new ways to reach audience and expand my readership. I have a LOT of writing to share and it is time to get it out into the world. Watch this space... I shall reveal details as things unfold in the coming months.

I promise.