Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Filling the Well

by Lynne Benton

Like a good many other people, I suspect, I spent much of August away from my desk, not writing at all.  On holiday.  Having a great time.  But by the time I came back I couldn’t help feeling rather guilty that I'd written nothing for a month!

First my husband and I flew to Vancouver, Canada, for an International Handbell Symposium.  (My husband writes music for handbells, but on this occasion he, together with 750-odd ringers from all over the world, was there to play music other people had written.)
It was a wonderful week, and a chance to hear some incredible playing from so many accomplished ringers.

Following that we went on a train through the Canadian Rockies to Jasper, where we took a boat trip through amazing scenery on Lake Maligne.  This is a view of Spirit Island.
From Jasper we took a coach to Edmonton, and from there we flew down to New York State to stay with friends, who had organised some great trips for us.  With them we climbed aboard a replica of the original Mayflower, saw the living history village of Plimoth Plantation (and yes, that is the correct spelling of Plimoth - I checked!) where the Mayflower passengers set up their first home in the States, and went on a ferry from Cape Cod to Martha’s Vineyard with its delightful Gingerbread cottages.
We also visited Boston (home of the Tea Party!) and saw the house where Louisa May Alcott wrote "Little Women"

And many other places.  We had a wonderful time, but I’d barely thought about my work at all while we were away.  I was too busy enjoying all the new experiences.

Then I remembered what someone had said when we were at Charney in July.  She said, “You need time to fill the well.”  And I realised she was absolutely right.  For writers, everything we do, see, hear or experience feeds into our work, and “fills the well” with fresh ideas and new solutions to old problems.  It all stops the well from running dry - but it needs time for the magic to work.

Now I'm back at my computer, and everything I learned and thought over the summer is sizzling in my brain, waiting to find its way into my work.  Not time wasted, then, but time out with a purpose.

And no need to feel guilty.


Penny Dolan said...

Sounds such an enjoyable summer, Lynne! "Filling the well" is a very necessary task.

Sue Purkiss said...

Sounds wonderful!