Envisaging your World

Recently I wrote a post for a Daily Prompt exercise named ‘Roy G. Biv’. It dug up old memories of a story I wrote at primary school – a desert island story which, as I remember, I held very dear and worked on for months. Before I continue, I will be recapping on the story however if you wish to read what I wrote before click here.

I have some news for you. I will be taking up my original idea in this story and rewriting it in a more mature way (in other words, not in childish ramblings!), introducing more adult concepts and making it more interesting. So I began writing today, just with a pen and blank A4 paper. My main principle in this project is to carefully recreate what I had written before in my primary years. It’s a great shame that I don’t have the original copy of the story, and that I’m totally relying on what I remember from back when I wrote it. However it’s giving me huge amounts of enjoyment and that, I suppose, is a good enough reason to continue rewriting it!

So to remind you what my story is about:

It’s about a man who is on an island in the middle of nowhere, striving to survive in the jungle and trying to search for a mythical beast. During his exploration of the island he finds the beast, a giant jungle lion man type affair (more details if you click herewho changes form between night and day. The beast tries to hunt him down and a large amount of the story is about him trying to evade this beast. That’s the basis of it.

Three pages into rewriting the story today and I had a problem – I couldn’t envisage the place the character was in. It’s a scene on a beach after he’s come out of the forest, and he’s looking at the sunrise. Recently I found a set of really nice, good quality watercolour pencils that I didn’t know I had. Watercolour pencils are my favourite way to create a colour picture by a long shot, so I took up my sketchbook and with my amateur “skills” I began to paint what I thought this particular scene would look like.

What you need to do is gather your thoughts into one place, and if you can’t do that in your head do it another way. Here is my head before I started painting:

(Psst! Sorry about the poor lighting - phone cameras are the worst!)
(Psst! Sorry about the poor lighting – phone cameras are the worst!)

And here’s what it looked like after I had gathered my thoughts (it does look a whole lot more vibrant in real life):

Gathered Head

That managed to let me carry on writing! It’s fantastic, and now I have something to look at and think ‘Wow! Did I managed even that?!’.

I am notorious for writing as I go along. That is to say I don’t plan what I write in great detail – I know where I start and where I finish, how I get there is up to me at the time. That means I’m also pretty bad at gathering my thoughts when I’m not really trying. It takes just that little bit more effort for me to gather my thoughts than perhaps you do. Literally painting a certain scene is just one of the ways I gather my thoughts, even if it does take half an hour to an hour to do so.

As I think about this, I realise how important it is to envisage the world you’re writing about, whether that’s in your head or as I’ve done and made it a physical object. Usually I find it no problem to envisage a scene in my head, however today I’m feeling particularly unwell and I think that has a lot to do with it. That’s interesting too, learning about what affects how you think and perform. If you have any experiences relating to this, be my guest to share in the comments too! It’s interesting how this works, and would be interesting to see how others do the same.

I will also be posting up the rewritten story in sections of around a thousand words at a time, hopefully reaching around twenty posts in total so I have a good 20,000-word story, so stick around!

Daily Prompt: Singular Sensation

If you could have a guarantee that one, specific person was reading your blog, who would you want that person to be? Why? What do you want to say to them?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us ONE.

 There are so many people who I would love to read my blog. I have so many influences, and for different things too. For example, when I have written stories my biggest influences have been the fantasy giants – Tolkien, Le Guin, Gaiman and Pratchett are just some of these. Since I write on this blog, I suppose I would have to choose one of these people, however I think some mentions of my other influences in art and music composition would also be appropriate – you never know, I might choose one of them!

I have been composing music since I was eight years old, usually on a piano. The kinds of pieces I would write would often last no longer than three minutes, and would never be written down – all of it would be kept in my head. Growing up, I started to listen to some of the composer who today make up my favourites  – Debussy, Ravel, Mahler, Bach, Schubert and Prokofiev are a select few of these. All these people I would love to read my blog for sure, but for their sakes I’m not going to say I want one of these to be the one person who reads this blog – it wouldn’t be very interesting for them I don’t think.

Art-wise, René Lalique, Gaudi, Shaun Leane and Picasso are some of the artists whose work I adore. All of them are Art Nouveau-period onwards. Shaun Leane and René Lalique are/were both jewellery designers influenced by natural forms, even though their work differs greatly. Gaudi of course was the famous architect – Sagrada Familia is perhaps one of my favourite architectural designs in the world. I find Picasso’s Cubist work extremely interesting – the ‘broken mirror’ effect is one of my favourite ideas in art, and I’ve painted a lot using Cubist techniques. However, all of these people would also not be interested in my blog I don’t think.

earthsea 2
Cover art from the Earthsea books

Now, in true Spraffing style, who out of my extremely wacky and imaginative head would I have read this blog?

Five year old me? One of the characters in one of my stories or tales? I genuinely can’t decide – my blog seems so inferior to all the famous people, and it’s impossible for something that no longer exists or that has never existed to read it! Come on, think!

I’m going to have to say Sparrowhawk.

Archmage Ged, or Sparrowhawk as he is called most of the time, is more of a philosopher than a wizard – all he talks about throughout the books he belongs to (‘Tales from Earthsea’ by Le Guin) is ‘when it is right to use magic’, and ‘maintaining the balance of the world’. For me, out of the three wizards, he is the most wise. Indeed a wizard is a figure of power, but power

Ged
A picture of Sparrowhawk from the movie

through intellect, through wisdom. Perhaps then Archmage Ged is also the most powerful. He is a character who has experienced more than the average person – death, fear, pain, redemption, companionship, power, imprisonment, exile, and he becomes all the wiser for it. He, like me, strives to experience as much as possible throughout his life, by travelling further than any man has done, travelling back from the world of Death, even facing and levelling with dragons (who in the books are pretty much omnipotent).

Sparrowhawk is one of the three wizards, all of which are very different and conjure different types of magic. These three wizards are Gandalf, Sparrowhawk, and Dumbledore. These three wizards are so different, yet so wonderful in all their own rights. All of them are wise, all of them would make me feel safe if I was to encounter them. Yet, I think Sparrowhawk would have to be the one to read my blog.

This is art from the movie of the last Earthsea book
This is art from the movie of the last Earthsea book

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Daily Prompt: Roy G. Biv

Robinson CrusoeWrite about anything you’d like, but make sure that all seven colors of the rainbow — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet — make an appearance in the post, either through word of image.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us COLORS.

 When I read Roy G. Biv and then the colours of the rainbow, I immediately thought of one of the books set on an island in the middle of nowhere – Robinson Crusoe, etc. I think that the abbreviation, Roy G. Biv, sounds a bit like a name of a stranded Englishman in the middle of the sea.

The book I’m reading at the moment, after finishing two others this week of a very different genre, is the classic ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding, which tells the tale of a group of young boys stranded on an island after their plane crashes. Over time the boys turn from the children they once were, and realise just how childish they actually are, to “murderous savages”. Although this is the first time I’ve ever read this book (I know, some of you may gasp), and I’m only a handful of chapters into the book, I’m no stranger of this kind of story.

At primary school we would often be asked, as a creative writing exercise, to use the desert island scenario to practice describing things as best we could and as over-the-top as we could. This gave birth to some very funny passages with the overuse of words like ‘iridescent’ and phrases such as ‘a splendid array of fantastical colours’, or something like that. It’s quite funny that I should read the Daily Prompt in such a way that I associated Roy G. Biv with the desert island scenario, because you will almost certainly find plants, fruits and animals that are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

After writing these funny descriptive passages, our teacher would ask us to then write a desert island story in the two hours of the next creative writing lesson. Naturally, these two-hour sessions were the highlights of my primary school experience. I was often that person who wrote twenty to thirty pages in my jotter, as opposed to others who would manage no more than ten. It was also the centre focus for bullies to pick away at funnily enough – nowadays I can see how the children (without sounding any more than protective of myself) lacking in the faith of their own abilities, which were often very fine indeed, tended to find comfort in then making sure everyone else also lacked faith in their own abilities to compensate.

My favourite story that I wrote, I seem to remember, was one about a hero (‘hero’ was my general term for the ‘protagonist’) who was striving to survive in a desert island jungle whilst searching for a mythical beast. I remember the drawings of this beast – this story was a passion of mine for months! It was a giant lion-man with big, emerald-green, exoskeletal wings like a dragonfly’s, and whose mane was made out of healthy, green and, strangely, blue or blue-green leaves. It had the same orange-yellow skin of a normal lion, however the areas around the shoulder blades, where the wings came out, were covered with the same colour of leaves. This lion-man also had dark purple-blue eyes (so for the sake of this post, let’s call that indigo), with a silver slit so that it looked feline.

However the most wonderful thing was about this story was that at night the giant lionman would look up at the moon and, as the moonlight struck his body, would metamorphose into a far more evil-looking creature of the night. This version of the lion man had more of a look of a panther, with black fur and silver eyes, and silver dragonfly wings, however there was no flesh on these wings – only the beautiful framework of the bones. The creature would stalk the forest and “protect it”, as I put it. The same transformation would recur in the daytime, so that the cycle could restart  – it would look towards the sunrise and, as the sunlight hit the skin this time, it would burn in a mystic flame of red, orange and yellow (I think this idea arose from the idea that to create, sometimes you must destroy, something I had read about around that time) and turn back into the slightly fonder if not strange-looking form of the day.

The creature eventually hunted down the hero in the ‘night form’, although several days later when the hero had investigated further, however the hero made peace with it by giving it a hug(!) – a very childish thing to write in I think!

It’s strange to be thinking about that story – I had almost forgotten it! In my head now it actually seems both colourful in terms of imagery, but also in terms of ideas. Something that was so close to my heart is also, perhaps, something I shouldn’t have forgotten about.

Daily Prompt: Do you Believe in Magic?

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/daily-prompt-do-you-believe-in-magic/

You have been transformed into a mystical being who has the ability to do magic. Describe your new abilities in detail. How will you use your new skills?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us ENCHANTMENT.

It seems such a childish thing doesn’t it? To be “a mystical being who has the ability to do magic”. I used to often play with my childhood friends at being strange, fantastic creatures in our home village. It was a very quiet village indeed, and we could get away with wearing all sorts of silly clothing we could find. My favourite thing to be would often be a “warrior wizard” – someone who can conjure magic as well as being, for example, an expert swordsman. NERD ALERT!

Our village was serene and peaceful. I remember being told that it would be a hamlet if not for the church, because it basically consisted of two streets, a park, a church and graveyard, a village hall, a small wood workshop and houses, usually containing old people and their dogs. However, this village provided the perfect escape for five, extremely imaginative young children, and we used to walk far out of the village, along the river and into the wilderness. It was here, in the grass fields and deciduous trees that shed their leaves in autumn to create splendours of gold and copper, with the sound of the river water gently churning against the pebbles on the bank, that we created fantasy worlds that only we maintained.

This was the proper meaning of the word, ‘enchanting‘. It was roasting hot in the Summer, viciously cold in Winter. I remember the light shining down through the leaves of the tree on the bank where our favourite part of the river was. We used to have barbecues on the riverside, and swim in the cool, but not cold, waters of the river, along with the fish and various birds. The animals were very tame and calm, and often would let us walk right past them (or swim right past them)!

I have, in fact, always felt a deeper connection with water, however not a superstitious one. It originated and took its full effect in the mind of small me, and I used to pretend (I cringe to remember!) at being some kind of superman who could shape water. I thought this was a beautiful idea – I still do! I wanted to create sculptures out of water that would be maintained through some kind of magical force, I seem to remember, and fight off the evil creatures that lurked in the woods with the same power over water. I think this connection with water originated with the love of the river itself – I was heartbroken to leave the village to continue my schooling at another school. My friends didn’t want my little brother and I to leave the village either: I remember fondly of “protests” to try to persuade our mother to let us stay in the village.

Alas, this magic, Tolkien-esque world that we lived in could not live forever, no matter how many of my childhood stories it influenced. But I wish it had…

If I had superpowers (being very selfish here!), I would firstly be able to time-travel back to god-knows-when to when the five of us were playing at our riverside paradise. Secondly, I would have the ability to manipulate water, as I wanted back then, and I would show them what I could do, as I would have wanted back then.

That would be Enchantment.