Claire King

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Claire King Edited Choices (10 of 10)

Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

Drawing Breath

Posted on: August 3rd, 2015 by Claire - 8 Comments

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

I am learning to swim.

I did learn to swim as a child, and somehow I competed in swimming as part of Modern Pentathlon at university. But in fact I was rubbish at swimming and only managed to be on the team because I was pretty good at all the other stuff and managed to pull up my average that way, floundering my way to completion in the swim and hoping no one remembered that bit. It turned out I had never learned to swim really, despite having my badges from 10m (purple)…

10m

…to 1500m (teal), I had only learned to get from one side of the pool to the other without drowning. 1500mBadge

Time moves on twenty years. Children have been born. Years have been spent teaching THEM to swim (bear with the story, the punchline is great). And now they can swim unaided and our nearby town has a summer pool (outdoor) where twice a week there is a swimming club, and adults can go and be taught to swim better. And I am doing that.

It’s good to learn a new thing. The learning process itself affects your brain. Remembering how little you know, accepting to be ignorant, trying to be better. And so every Monday and Thursday I get in the pool with lean, fit, twenty-somethings and strive to do a little better than last time. To be stronger. To be suppler. To be more co-ordinated. But the thing I am having to relearn most of all is how to breathe.

When to breathe.

What part of my body to breathe with.

And the teacher tells me ‘Souffle!‘ when she wants me to breathe out.

And the teacher tells me ‘Inspire!‘ when she wants me to breathe in.

When she wants me to breathe in, to gasp for air, she tells me, ‘Inspire!

No one has ever had to tell me how to breathe in French before (even when I was in labour all they cared about was the souffle).

And so perhaps that is why I never realised that in French, the verb to inspire is the same as the verb to breathe.

And inspiration is the same as taking a breath.*

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*From wikipédia:

Le terme inspiration a principalement deux significations.

 

The landscape inside a single man.

Posted on: July 4th, 2012 by Claire - 5 Comments

“Le paysage est si vaste à l’intérieur d’un seul homme que toutes les contradictions y veulent vivre et y ont place.” Christiane Singer, in her book “Où cours-tu? Ne sais-tu pas que le ciel est en toi?”

I wanted to share something with you. An inspiration, a piece of wisdom that I came across recently and found perfectly beautiful.

Christiane Singer was a French author, who wrote prolifically until her death in 2007. Her works include much exploration of spirituality and philosophy. I had never heard of her until last week, and I’ve not been able to find English translations of her work, sadly, but here is my translation of the quote above:

“The landscape is so vast inside a single man that all contradictions must live there and have their place.”

It is taken from her book “Where are you running to? Don’t you know heaven is within you?”

Isn’t that an amazing image? That inside every one of us – every one of our characters – is a self-contained, vast universe, where raging storms, parched canyons, soft rolling hills and tidal seas exist together. Doesn’t that inspire you to write?

It’s also perfectly in tune with the novel I’m editing at the moment, which asks a lot of questions about what really lies within us. It’s a big question for a writer. Indeed, for anyone.

Who are these photos of?

These photos are of the theatre/circus company Cielo who introduced me to this quote recently in a local nature reserve, and so inspired this post.

 

 

Room of One’s Own.

Posted on: September 20th, 2011 by Claire - 16 Comments

I’m just back from a two day writers’ retreat at Tilton House in Sussex. Having never done a writing course/retreat/anything before I blogged about having booked it…and now as promised, here are my thoughts on how it went:

The setting at Tilton House is sublime. Very spacious, clean and comfortable. Hammocks in the sunshine, crackling log fires and comfy sofas and many, many nooks and crannies perfect for writing in. Books everywhere. Healthy and delicious food morning, noon and night and a yurt at the bottom of the garden for yoga before breakfast. The location undeniably was a great foundation for our writing.

Vanessa Gebbie, who was running the weekend had put together an ambitious schedule of workshops, one-on-ones and individual writing time, as well as some opportunities to get out and about. During the two days we talked about where stories come from – the internal and external stimuli that prompt us to start writing. We tried some visualisations and other creative exercises to spark off ideas that really grabbed us. We also talked about the things that can block us from writing and how to get around them.

We also had two exceptional guests over the weekend. On Saturday evening Carole Hayman regaled us after dinner with tales of her writing life and advice on how to succeed (including how having a rasher of bacon festering down the side of your cooker is perfectly normal). And then on Sunday, Helen Garnons-Williams, editorial director at Bloomsbury (who also happens to be my editor) brought her passion and enthusiasm for great books, talking about the world of publishing, how literary agents fit in, how she sees e-books evolving and answering our questions.

What did I personally get out of it?

I was one of a diverse group of eleven women who had jumped at the opportunity to put our writing first for a change. We included playwrights, poets, creative non-fiction writers and novelists and some writers who were just starting off on their writing journey. The virtual writing community has been a life saver for me over the last couple of years, but it was truly lovely to meet people face to face and I’m sure I’ve made some friendships that will stick.

The workshops that Vanessa ran were great fun and very informative. I found that some of the exercises really clicked for me, and others less so. So I’ve learned something about my own creative processes and I have some new ideas, tips and tricks to keep things moving and, I think, bring some new life to my prose.

At the start of the retreat we talked about our objectives (mine were very vague, but involved writing a lot!) then afterwards we had a chat about how we had done versus those objectives. Perhaps I was expecting to write thousands and thousands of words on my novel over the weekend. What I actually came out with was a surprising piece of flash, a poem, the beginnings of a short story and some work on my novel…but not the work I’d been expecting to do.

I think the biggest benefit is yet to be seen. By actually allowing myself some down time, time to think, sleep, do some yoga, be inspired, try new things…the nourishment that that provided, along with the seeds of inspiration will see me in good stead for the writing I do over the next few months and I suspect will bear fruit when I’m least expecting it.

Thanks to Vanessa Gebbie for conceiving and running this weekend, from a very happy writer!

Story starters – get your inspiration here

Posted on: May 10th, 2011 by Claire - 2 Comments

My husband is an avid stumbler* (do this if you must but restrict yourself to times when really, you have nothing better to do. You risk falling down a rabbit hole)…and after stumbling upon this site is now insisting I write some stories based on the photos. It’s true they make great writing prompts.

If you’re looking for more inspiration, here’s a previous post with further suggestions.

Happy writing, and if you do post a story based on one of these, please do send me the link, I’d love to read them!

 

*Stumble Upon

 

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