Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Changing Landscapes : Penny Dolan

Off - once a late breakfast is over - to Fountains Abbey, near where I live. It's somewhere I 've visited often, a site I return to over and over again. The incredible thing is that the colour within the abbey stone is subtly different each time, and the mood of the place - from the ruins to the formal expanse of the water gardens and even the expansive deer park- can always surprise.

So do the crowds - from noisy families in holiday weeks, through to earnest historians and even, one cold winter Sunday, when the abbey grounds were "shut for maintenance", a group of guffawing gentlemen in hunting tweeds, with guns over their shoulder, striding off within to do . . .? Maintenence, presumably.

So how does this fit with writing? Because there's always a moment when you hear of another book, usually linked to a bright award winning name, that has a similar subject to yours. Plunge of heart. Despair in the soul. Some definite stamping about and sulking. But just as a landscape can change on each visit, with luck - and careful writing - our own work can have its own life and spirit. Good luck with whatever writerly regions, times and seasons you're visiting just now.


Mary Hoffman said...

I love Fountains Abbey! If you are going to write about it I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that no mega-name has the same idea.

Penny said...

Thanks, Mary. I did once write a longer children's novel about that place, and had almost forgotten until our visit today. Seeing the place again made me think I might search that tome out. Perhaps I can now analyse and fix the problem that once totally dispirited me. Only trouble is that it is hidden so far back in my early files that it might be irrecoverable.