I cannot work in silence when I am writing; I need music all the time. For me, silence can be painful and headache inducing, as much as having television on in the background is also another disturbance and headache waiting to happen.
There are only two times when silence suits me without invoking a headache; when I am walking in nature, woodlands, pathways next to canals and fields etc., or being driven somewhere by car. I dislike conversations in cars, I don’t like talking, and I like to zone out and forget I am in the car because I tend to feel sick when I acknowledge I am in a car. I can imagine other places quite easily when I am not spoken to and in a car, this therefore makes it difficult for my body to realise it should be sick. I also cannot read in a moving car, but I am perfectly relaxed at reading on trains and in busy cafes.
Travelling on buses and in cars makes me tired as well as daydreamy and any more than an hour in either and I am asleep, unless I am very tired or woke up early on the day, I tend not to sleep on trains, I love trains, I have a passion for them which has certainly rubbed off on my son Henry.
We take regular trips on trains just because; we are trying to get into a habit of going on the Severn Trent valley steam railway every couple of months. I like to look at the scenery around there, the river Severn is the most beautiful river I’ve ever seen, which doesn’t say much because I’ve only ever seen three rivers personally up close.
Music therefore is a very important tool for my writing. I like listening to instrumental music mostly, such as that found from Nox Arcana, Apocalyptica, classical music, but sometimes I will listen to lyrical music from all styles and eras, such as Patsy Cline’s Honky Tonk Merry-Go-Round, Movie Soundtracks, Kesha and many others.
If it weren’t for music I don’t think I could be as emotional in my writing as I am with it.
When I was little I had no imagination, seriously. I didn’t find my imagination until I was around 9yrs old, I remember teachers from the couple of schools I was allowed to go to complaining that my stories were too realistic and that I lacked imagination. I was browbeaten by them to develop an imagination and my mum helped with that – by the time she was finished with me my life was destined to be a writer from the age of 11. It was decided for me and I have to admit I fell into it.
I am not saying for one moment that I don’t enjoy writing, I do. But a writer’s life was chosen for me, not something I found I wanted, it was literally thrusted upon me.
When I look back through my therapy and my creative recoveries, I have noticed that when I was a child I had planned to be a mother or a teacher and that I had a huge interest in art and fashion. I had quite vain thoughts as a child, but all of this was discouraged out of me and by the time I was 16 I had forgotten the art life I had wanted for myself and writing took its place. I know writing is an art form in itself, but I meant painting, sculpture etc., all those other art forms were discouraged simply because my talent lies in writing, not drawing my mum often told me.
I was thrilled when my cousin Shane bought me oil paints for Christmas one year, my mum dreaded it and didn’t encourage me to continue, despite the good painting I did of some obscure Aztec ancient god. My dad was proud of it, but she looked at it as an expensive past time that she wasn’t looking forward to smelling.
Since living with Paul, he believes I have talents in both but my main skill is writing simply because I don’t practise art enough. In fact he is right, because I practise less than two hours a time approximately once every couple of months. Whereas writing, I am practising almost every day for over an hour.
A lot of the time I just draw with pencils or a biro and never colour it in. When I do really good drawings I am scared to paint them, because I tend to ruin good sketches with painting them wrong. I have done excellent work that was ruined by paint. A large African elephant in the Sahara, when painted, all the excellent detail was destroyed and it became cartoonlike, yet it was coloured in with watercolours, watercolour is my main medium.
I do chalk pastel art too, but again, I am frightened to preserve it, as I tend to over spray and my work is literally washed away.
I am self-taught in both art and writing.
Music is vital for me to work, this is the primary reason why I can’t work when my son is awake or at home, his noises drown out my music a lot. He also wants the TV on all the time and that drowns out the music too. Unlike most writers and artists I don’t like isolating myself in a room alone, I like to be around people, particularly people who respect music and respect the fact that I am working – a child can never do those things, they don’t understand; So, reluctantly I have to work around him and this is something I am dreading when I become professionally published – my time then has to work around the editors I am appeasing and for me, that’s going to be a nightmare.