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~ Hazel Harps On

Power And Privilege

It is now November, which means several things. Firstly, we’ve had Halloween. And yes, in case you’re wondering, I did get to dress up as a Medieval vampiress and scare people silly in Dunster Castle grounds. Some were so shocked they fell over (pause here for wicked cackle - another art I have managed to perfect along with dramatic eye-rolling). Sadly we have no photos. I forgot my camera in all the excitement but I must say I thought the blood-drippy look suited me rather well.

November is also National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo. Thousands of writers have stocked up with emergency soup, coffee and chocolate, cancelled social engagements and warned their families to come nowhere near them. They are now sat behind computers, frantically punching out words in an effort to achieve that first draft before the month is out. I will unofficially be doing something similar. My ideas for the next novel have festered for long enough and it’s time to pour them out onto the page. Several have poured out already. But as the chapters emerge I’m still going to need plenty of thinking time. Which means, as ever, walks on Exmoor.

Exmoor is stunning at this time of year with all the beech trees and bracken, kings of autumn colour. This morning’s thinking walk was through the woods and rendered these lovely scenes.

Trees are inspirational, aren’t they? They highlight that other thing about November: the feel of change. That letting go of the old to make way for the new. How relevant that is for me and my novels right now!

My imagination was also fuelled by this ... Do you see what I see, or is it just because I am harp-crazy?

Everything, after all, is open to interpretation. WE SEE THE WORLD NOT AS IT IS BUT AS WE ARE (a quotation attributed to Stephen Covey, to Anais Nin and to the Talmud. I suspect the Talmud was first.) This idea is something I’ve found very useful in writing, particularly when using the viewpoints of my characters. One will interpret a scenario a certain way while another will see it quite differently. Meanwhile the reader is able to see something else entirely.

As humans we are so susceptible and as humans our imaginations can conjure up so much. Which is why you can scare somebody with a bit of red make-up or touch their hearts by plucking a few harp strings. And why, as writers or readers, we are able to live many, many different lives. Now that's what I call power and privilege!

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