Slotting Into A Creative Groove
Pressed eject on work Thursday night after 2 weeks of INTENSE stress which has left my brain so numb I can barely think.
Friday morning train ride from Temple Meads towards the south coast and through the harbour towns dotting the line there. Stormy weather buffeting the train and providing endless dramatic vistas unfolding beyond the windows.
Here I am (photo above). House belongs to my mate Pete (Lone Pine). He’s placed me in the amazing top room, a vast space that occupies the entire new 3rd story. Incredible views of the ocean and deep sense of tranquility and separation from the rest of the world. I’m here for the next few days.
Time for time to slow down. Enjoy the languid surges of the waves, the crash, boom, crump and hiss of breakers striking the shore line and withdrawing.
Rain over there. A big storm hammer swooped across the channel separating Hayling Island from the mainland. A few splashes made it to me but I could see the area over there getting a complete soaking.
Nothing like the cold stab of a freezing gale force wind to blow away the cobwebs and refresh your brain. Listening to the awesome electro sounds of Fischerspooner. Miles of deserted coastline. Big waves. Sunlight kissing my face. Time to drift. Time not to think, but just to…be.
Back at the house I’m working (a little) on the new novel: Oakfield, drinking lots of coffee and gazing out at the sea with an empty mind. Have also been cooking up some absolute feasts in the evening. Love my food. Adore cooking. Last night saw me oven roast chicken thighs that I’d browned in butter; cooked slowly on a low heat with onions, 1/2 pint of chicken stock and 1/3rd pint of balsamic vinegar. Simple but effective. All the liquid reduces down and the flavours combine into something that makes everyone lick their lips and make sounds of delight. If you’ve never used balsamic as a base for stock before, try it.
Strange to reflect how much significance this island and this house have come to hold in my life. First time I came here was only four years ago. January 2010, not long after my mum died and I was plunging headfirst into writing Dog Eat Dog to flee the emotional pain. It’s been an interesting 4 years. Life stuff. The ups and downs. The battles that can only make you wiser, stronger or they break you. Creative too: past 4 years I’ve written The Black Lake, Living in Flames, The Social Club, Songs of Spheres and recently finished 14 short stories in a furious 6 weeks. Plus a full re-write of Yellow Dawn: The Age of Hastur (2.5). Lots achieved, I think. Good feeling when you stop and turn around to look back for a few moments.
Being here certainly feels like a sanctuary. A place to recoup spent energies and regenerate. Meanwhile huge storms have been rolling in off the sea and battering the whole island. Lots of places have suffered flooding but fingers crossed this house is OK.
So far, going to bed each night after a few whiskies, it’s either dead calm outside… with an incredible array of glittering stars filling the inky void beyond the window, stretching out to the distant horizon of the black sea; or its a wild frenzy of rain slamming across the big windows and the whole roof structure shuddering and groaning with the strain.
Short Video ¦ Hayling Island ¦ Music by Fischerspooner