Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Writing Wednesday - Ode to Pinterest

As a teenager I would get inspiration for my writing and fuel for my dreams leafing through National Geographic magazines. Our school had a big pile of them, and others I picked up in op-shops.
I loved reading the articles about far away places and dreaming about visiting them some time. Kashmir, Norway, Alaska… I'd read up about them hungrily and dream of 'when'…

But more - I would steal use images from the magazines as the basis of stories.

There are certain images that linger with me still.

There was a particular article about wolves that had a photo of a white wolf sitting on a ledge on a snow covered mountain that struck such a cord with me that it inspired two different manuscripts - the first - Lumi's War, begins in a mountainous region very similar to the one in the photos, the second I'm presently editing - Overly Caffeinated Werewolves (Are not Pretty), and again the otherworld landscape of the wolf people is inspired by that photo.

Considering I first saw the image over twenty years ago - I think that's fairly good milage.

Scrolling through images on pinterest recently, I found the image again. I promptly pinned it on several boards, alternating between smiling and biting my lip as I mulled over all the memories.

And I began pondering how pinterest has taken over the role of those National Geographics in my life.

Rather than leafing through the pages, (often in magazines twenty years old) I scroll down the screen, inspired by so many piercing images. While I could say that a lot of my life has been eaten by pinterest, (and those who follow me probably have an inkling of the embarrassing truth of exactly how much time) in it's favour it's something I can do one handed while holding a feeding babe, and it doesn't require any mental acuity - a good thing, as nursing completely steals my brain away.

I credit pinterest with my return to an idea for a manuscript that I had when I was fifteen, and decided to  try a re-write of the fairy tale the frog prince, but set in medieval Scotland. Beautiful micro photos from forests persuaded me that I'd like to take the idea up again, and try to capture the beauty of the forest-world from a toads eye view - the caught dewdrop on a mushroom, the rich green of moss, the fall of light through woodland trees. While the first draft of The Toad Lord (now set in 1801) is now brewing in a folder on my desktop, I am looking forward to returning to it soon.

Pinterest is also responsible for an upcoming voyage to Iceland for one of my characters. Prior to pinterest it never occurred to me that Iceland is a Very Desirable Place to travel to, with a wild, stark magic to it. It is now firmly on my to-go-list, and my young hero-god Lugh from a manuscript called Fosterling will soon be traveling there - for reasons I've yet to work out…

Turning to the other side of Europe - Santorini's sun drenched, colourfully painted villages swathed in hibiscus have proved inspiration for another novel, although I've transferred the villages to a tropical island and set them amidst coconut plantations rather than olive groves.

On a personal level I might never have discovered the wonder that is the BBC's Sherlock without Pinterest. Presently I am looking forward to watching The Avengers and Thor, as so many pinners I follow have pinned Loki … And then of course there's Outlanders...

Pinterest - although you steal my midnight hours, I thank you!

It would be interesting to know how many other writers and artists owe a debt to pinterest…

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