I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

Away From The Writing


Do you want to know where I was at the weekend? Stuck behind my desk? Writing until the letters turned into funny shapes that floated off out the window? No, I decided to give my word machine a rest and take in something else. I went down to Aix-en-Provence, just for a taste of some of the reasons why I moved here. Mmmmmm. I couldn't help but take a few photos. (Click on the shots to see a larger version).

We ate crêpes. We drank wine and cider. We saw an excellent play by some young theatre students. We sang into the night in a charming house in an old village. It means I wasn't writing. But I think these distractions can be good sometimes, like a much-needed dose of the outside world, the real word ... away from fictional characters we create, who become so demanding.

I've also been busy with the Shameless Lions Writing Circle, which has had an excellent response. Are there really more than 100 messages on that blog post that launched the whole thing? It's been a real pleasure to set this up; now I have to think about the contest for the five best lions and best poems/prose pieces. 42 out of 48 lions have so far been adopted. It's amazing to reach a "full house". I am so thrilled. I'm sorry that I haven't had much time recently to get around and read other blogs, but things should get quieter when the writing circle is full.

Also, I can't believe that I've actually been squeezing in other things over the past few weeks: I went to virtually every session of a week-long book festival; I had a friend visit from NZ; I've just finished a 3500-word short story for the Bridport Prize; and I've also just finished two poems for the same contest. Are you entering?

I do wonder about the worth of taking part in writing contests that charge entry fees, especially the ones that attract a global flood of amazing writing. It is good as an exercise in discipline, I suppose, and I've really enjoyed creating a new world. (I found the idea for the short story while looking around for a name for my lion). If my work gets nowhere in the contest - how many thousands of entries are received? - at least I can share it at some stage here on my blog. I can't put it up just yet because Bridport entries have to be "virgins": never before published, not even on the web!


Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Yes! Yes! Getting out and enjoying the world is essential to the creative process; I always feel so rejuvenated after even half a day away from the screen. Kudos on finishing the story and poems. I think your take on contests is a good one--at the very least, you've worked and completed (!) and there's always us to try out the material on. Writing is never a wasted effort.

Ah, and congratulations on the ever-growing writing circle! Such an honor to be part of it :)

S. Kearney said...

Hi Sognatrice. :) Gosh, I've just read back through this post and it sounds a bit boasty, doesn't it? But hey, I am here and it's so easy to go to these places ... one person's dream holiday is another person's simple trip down the road! Yes, the lions have done me PROUD! I'm looking forward to getting the contest up and running once all 48 are settled into their new homes. :)

Anonymous said...

sounds like you really had a good break.

you must also be commended for having this idea of a writing circle, and i thank you for giving me this opportunity to rub shoulders with many amazing writers (me not included).

i don't think i'm ready for bridport yet. however, here in Singapore we have a similar competition for the locals. planning to take part in that one.

anyway, glad to have you as a friend in the blogsphere. :)

Vesper said...

Oh, the charm of Europe... How I wish I were there!...
You can be proud of the writing circle - I sure am honoured to be part of it. I'm curious, where in Lyon is my lion (No.18)?
Good luck with your story and your poems, Seamus.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I love the photos, what a beautiful place. I agree with Sognatrice... very important to rejuvenate oneself... regularly. You will write better, think better... etc. Creative juices need to be refreshed.

Thank you so much for adding me to the circle, I am so excited for it!
I've gotten Viaggiatore up, but as soon as I did, he wandered off, as travelers and lions are wont to do... I think I saw him somewhere near the top of my page. I'll try to keep tabs on him and write regularly about the travels we'll take together.
At present, I am working on his poem... it must be as special as he is, so I am contemplating deeply, and will produce it soon.

Many, many thanks


Kay Cooke said...

Glad you had a nice break - you certainly deserve it after all that Lion's share of work!
All the best for your entry to Bridport comp.

L.M.Noonan said...

Wondered what you were up to. I'm always so envious of your lifestyle- but in a 'nice' way. The pride is something...so many talented people. Glad you're entering the Bridport. I'm entering something I'm still working on...anyone woulod think I've got money to burn. Yes thousands enter but, what the heck.

Unknown said...

It is good to put your eyes somewhere else. Sometimes you forget that there is a world away from a screen!

Anonymous said...

Seems like a splendid way to spend the weekend. Drink in fresh air, people, stands, shopping, life. People always use the phrase "recharge the batteries" about something like this but that seems too much after the fact. I like to think of it as something continual and immediate and essential.

Good luck on the Bridport Prize. My hat is off to you for doing it, for entering. We all look forward to the publication of it -- there or here.

S. Kearney said...

Canterbury Soul,
Hi. I'm also very pleased to have you in the writing circle ... and hopefully the force of our lions will rub off on us! :) Good luck with your entry in your local competition.

We all tend to pine for pastures that aren't near us. :) I always want to be somewhere else. Only a few of the lions from that 2004 exhibition have stayed in Lyon ... many were sold off, some put on display in various places... but I'm not sure where your lion got to. :)

Yes, I think we all need our regular escapes. It's also great to have you join the writing circle ... I look forward to reading your poem/prose piece.

A little break back home in NZ would've been nice ... but not for a weekend, unfortunately. Thanks for the encouraging words.

Yay!! I'm so pleased you're also entering the Bridport. Hey, even if there are thousands of entries, some of them have to stand out, right? Who knows ... why not us? As I said, you've got to be in to win.

Very true. I've also restarted my daily 45-minute walk before breakfast, realising that I've been doing an awful lot of sitting in one place. Well, the hols are here soon ... Greek Islands, Venice and south of France ... away from the computer, lots of exercise, less food! :) Yes!

Hi! Your comments are always so uplifting. Thank you ... and thanks for your kind words re Bridport .. and as you say, the story is never wasted.

Debi said...

Hang on - did someone say there was a world out there away from this screen?

Say it ain't true ...

S. Kearney said...

No, it ain't true! Relax. Go back to the Word document and turn up the screen's brightness control ... let in a little sun! :)

Andi said...

How is that book that you are reading???....Mother's Milk

S. Kearney said...

Mother's Milk is on the urgent "to do" list ... not that it's bad or anything ... just that I need to find a good couple of hours free to sit down and finish it. That day is coming! :) So far so good: nice humour; crisp, easy writing; although it is part of a series, and I haven't read the earlier one.

Rob Kistner said...

Seamus -

We don't know each other well yet, but hi – I'm Rob Kistner.

I am, as you know, now a fellow Shameless Lions Writing Circle member. I wanted to visit and say hello.

Artheo and I would like to invite you to stop by Image & Verse and say hello.

We have created a specific ‘writing circle’ post that contains an idea or two regarding the circle. We’d love your thoughts Seamus.

We would also like to exchange links to each other’s blogs. If that is agreeable with you, please let me know when you visit, and we can create our links.

I am going to tour your blog now a bit more in depth. I hope we can become better acquainted!

Glad you enjoyed your time away from your muse -- they really can be so damned demanding at times! ;)

S. Kearney said...

Hi Rob, thanks for your visit ... I've left a comment over on your blog. :)

Meloney Lemon said...

Hi again from Homer and myself. Thankyou for your blog critique - very kind. I live in South London though, only born in Essex.

These lions. I wonder if the organisers of the Lyon/lion sculpture project know how far their beasts have wandered through realms of mind and blogosphere. I would be interested in their response. This could become even bigger. It was such a good idea. Just right

S. Kearney said...

Hi Meloney,
I've changed your listing on the circle blog, putting in South London. Thanks for that.
Yes, it would be good to get reaction from the organisers ... I'm due to see them soon to try to get the details of all the artists behind each lion, so I can add that to the listings. There were 60 lions in total in this exhibition back in 2004, but I only managed to photograph 48. Maybe they might give me pics of the rest and we can bump up the number of members of the circle to 60. We'll see.

Anonymous said...

You have to experience life to write about it. Don't you just love weekends like that? I always come back with towns full of new characters and story ideas. Its so exciting that all the Lions have been adopted. Great idea Seamus!

S. Kearney said...

Hi Kat,
Yes, lots of llittle dialogue tucked away in the attic of my mind. Even if it is in French! :)
Yes, the lions have done me proud ... and they looks so happy in their new homes. :)