I'm listening to the soft and constant fall of rain outside my little studio window. After two weeks in LA with beautiful sunshine you'd think it would dampen my spirits but I find it very comforting. Maybe I will feel differently if it keep this up but for now I am finding sunshine on the inside while enjoying the splash of puddles.
My time in LA was quite revelatory, building upon an already unfolding vision which has emerged over a now three year transition period. My husband is an animator, writer and film maker and it was wonderful to be immersed in that field through his business events there. We first met in 1995 in a Blockbuster video store where I was manager. Our starry eyes met, countless film recommendations were exchanged and the romcom between us began. We both had a passion to write and tell stories and embarked on a script writing journey together. Then the narrative blossomed, children came into the story and a new learning curve of parenthood and home educating dominated the next several chapters. I gave up that sort of writing in 2008.
Words and language have always been a fascination. The beauty in the weaving of sentences whether in poetry, prose or narrative holds my eye as a sparkling diadem caught in the glimmer of sunlight. Words shape worlds, inner worlds, they enrich imagination and help us understand ourselves and the world around us. We need words, we need stories. Words laden with truth, nobility, honour and goodness. Words like hope arrows to penetrate the looming darkness.
And, words are being lost.
Madeleine L'Engle writes in her book Walking on Water -
"In time of war language always dwindles, vocabulary is lost; and we live in a century of war. When I took my elder daughter's tenth-grade vocabulary cards up to the school from which she had graduated, less than a decade after she had left, the present tenth-grade students knew almost none of them. It was far easier for my daughter to read Shakespeare in high school than it was for students coming along just a few years after her."
If you're a Brit of my generation you'll most likely know and have a fondness for The Clangers. There's been a reboot of this show recently. The Clangers whistle rather than speak but the show is beautifully narrated. I can hear the difference in the language used between the two productions, to be expected as they're almost half a century apart. Do give them a watch if you're looking for something new as they promote kindness, family, and stretch the imagination of the viewer.
I remember Mr Rogers stating in the Netflix documentary Won't You Be My Neighbour? that "the outer world may have changed but the inner world of children has not". I think much of today's content for children is not created with that in mind. Yet my time in LA amongst creatives who are in positions of content creation and stewardship has given me so much hope going forward. I found myself among others who want to pass on a legacy of story telling which promotes empathy, kindness, imagination and goodness.
It was both foreign and familiar territory to be mixing with writers and creators again. The water felt the same but I am a different fish than that of 14 years ago. At times I have pondered the questions you may have; Am I too old to start something again? Is it too late to step back into this? What has been the sum of my last decade or two? Have I lost touch? What can I possibly offer this generation? Who would care to listen to my voice or take interest in what I have to offer?. . . . After the initial trepidatious dipping of the toe I found an anchored confidence and sense of self I hadn't possessed all those years ago. I have grown. I am a wife of 25 years, a mother of 23, a disciple of 25, a woman of almost 53, a home educator of 10. I've learned a few things, I know more of who I am.
Paul Scanlon shared this week that you can't take an old version of yourself forward into a new opportunity, "The next thing comes out of the next you . . . you can't upgrade to first class and keep an economy mindset" (my paraphrase). And so friends, I find myself evolving or rather experiencing a revisitation to the world of writing and story telling I used to love but as a new me. I have no idea where this is leading, if anywhere, but I'm curious and open.
Did you know I link every book, film, recipe etc in the Beagle? Where you see words highlighted, simply click the link.
After announcing last month the launch of my new gallery gift shop I am very sad to let you know that for now everything is offline. I was so excited to form a working relationship with this London based printer who offered a very low flat rate for shipping worldwide, only upon return from the States to find out second-handedly that they had changed their policy. I understand the reason but the rate was one of the main draw cards for me. I was also having technical issues with their app and its connection to my website. I won't bore you with the details. So it is with a heavy heart that my store is currently unavailable. I will have to go back to the drawing board and hopefully will have more news in the coming weeks.
'But we have this treasure in earthen vessels'
The is the Winter Ground Cherry or Chinese Lantern plant. I'm obsessed. I spotted these growing in a neighbour's garden on a night walk with the dog last week. I was captivated.
This first image reminds me of a sacred heart. It also speaks to me of a mother's womb, the delicate interweaving, the life-giving supply of nourishment being carried through intricate veins to the seed growing within. I love the twist and curl of the dried stems. The outer casing is like that of a lace veil shrouding the promise within. From the outward appearance we see decay and death but beneath the covering lies a vibrant heart beat.