Editorial – March 2011
It is cold in west London, a reminder that, in spite of recent mild days, winter has not yet lost its teeth.
Yet everywhere there are signs of a coming spring. The days are growing longer, buds are beginning to appear on the trees, the first shoots of the spring bulbs are breaking through the ground.
I paint watercolours; I love landscapes, but I specialise in botanical illustration. As nature once more bursts forth into bloom I find the desire to capture the brilliance of nature’s pallette overwhelms me. Here is inspiration for my artwork. I live in Isleworth in London, a suburb that has retained the character of the quiet village it once was. Turner lived here, and so did Van Gogh, both major influences on my style and the stories I want to tell on the canvas.
Nature is what inspires me to pick up my brush, and the greats of the past influence how I interpret what I see. To me, that’s the difference between an inspiration and an influence. One causes you to act, the other guides how you act.
My own influences have been mentioned before; Poe, Lovecraft, Doyle, Dostoevsky and Kafka. My major influences have been male, and as we approach International Women’s Day that gives me pause for thought. There are few female influences in my writing. But there are inspirations. My high school English teacher Moira Gray. Marion Arnott, who ran a creative writing class at school during lunchtimes, the first writing class I ever went to. My wife, whose personality forms the core of one of my favourite characters in The Long Watch.
Inspiration and Influence, female and male and female, yin and yang. For the Chinese, Yin is associated with the feminine and the act of breathing in. The Latin for breathing in, in spirare, is where we derive the word inspiration. So it is fitting that in the month where we acknowledge the work of women, we also acknowledge inspiration.
Keep this in mind over the course of the month as our writers reveal to you who and what inspires them to write, and the people and things that influence their writing, whether it is the subject matter, the genre or the style of their writing. In the week of 7-13 March we will be hearing mainly from our women writers, to coincide with the 100th International Women’s Day on the 8th, when we will have a special post for that day.
This month is the true “first” month of the new Write Anything, as this is the first month our writers sing out with their own voices, and make their unique contributions. All of us here are flying by the seat of our pants as we try out new ways of working together, editing work, posting submissions. Over the next few months we will be moving to a new website, increasing the number of posts to two each day, and introducing new and exciting features to the site. More than once I’m sure we’ll fall flat as we get used to bigger and more complicated methods of working.
I hope you’ll bear with us as we improve, and aim to inspire you all to become better writers.