So it was midnight; the dog had hoofed all the cushions off the sofa to build a nest, burrowed beneath them, probably in disgust at the continuous tapping of the keyboard. Another forgotten cup of coffee had gone cold beside the screen and it was too late for the self-indulgent bath I’d set my heart upon. Or dinner for that matter. So much for the early night.
The first chunk of the new book… yes, another… had landed in the inbox late in the afternoon, and around seven o’clock I thought I’d have a quick re-read. Bad move. After laughing and remembering some of the incidents… including the mud-bath… there was research to do. Then I noticed a typo and ended up doing a first edit of what we have so far. Looking good.
One of the questions we are often asked is how we manage to write together…. How does this joint authorship thing work? Especially when we are based a couple of hundred miles apart. It’s easy. It just happens.
I can’t speak for others of course, but the books are written from a shared, lived experience, the venues are real, as are most of the scenarios; the experiences are genuine and most of the dialogue is reported, if not verbatim then in essence, from what we have actually discussed. As we seldom stop talking when we are together, exploring the ideas and concepts that arise and present themselves for consideration, there is no lack of material to draw upon. It may be that the dialogue is re-assigned and ‘Wen’ may present an idea that Stuart threw into the mix… usually something heretical and off the wall… or a monologue may become a conversation. Ideas touched upon may be expanded and research appropriately added. We both write in our own way and own voice and the two seem to slot together seamlessly and without trying to force the match.
Stuart, however, seems to delight in throwing odd things into the mix from time to time… I’m sure he sits there waiting for me to notice… and you should see what he’s come up with this time! No, you’ll have to wait…
So today I have to write my next bits and for part of this at least the blog comes into its own as a reminder of events, ably and abundantly abetted by the hundreds of photographs taken as a record. Even though, as now, we know we haven’t got the ones we need. Yet. Because we didn’t know when we were at the sites what was coming, or sometimes even why we were there. Take Arbour Low, for example. We thought we were simply visiting an ancient stone circle…but what we realised after the event was a whole other story…
The ideas like to ferment and spring up at the most inappropriate moments… usually driving when there is no chance to stop and note them down, or in a dream, you tenaciously hold on to on waking. It can be weeks later before you realise what has been staring you in the face… even longer sometimes. Indeed, some of the concepts only now being put into words we had touched on in earlier forays as the pieces fall into place and that proverbial light goes on showing what was lurking in the corner all along.
It is often that way, though, isn’t it, that we manage to piece together the puzzle only long after the first glimpse. Sometimes it needs that extra spark from another, or a new snippet of information… sometimes we already have all the pieces but simply need to shift the angle of perception in order to change our perspective and see things differently.
Mind you, don’t get me started on the whole perspective thing… we’ve barely begun to ask how the ancients managed to defy all the rules with that one…. It comes from the Latin perspicere… to see through… hmmm…. Excuse me, I may need to think about that one….
“…It is a kind of magic. Or at least, that is what it can look like. And it is noticeable immediately and at every site, although because of scale it is probably easier initially to grasp the significance and test it at the smaller sites.”