notes from the hermitage // forget me not

Thursday, 23 February 2017


There are so many things I want to write to you about, friends.

I want to tell you about how it snowed this morning so now the house is glowing with brilliant white light, and about the full moon I saw one evening back in the autumn while I was on my way to buy carrots from Aldi – it took my breath away and I chased it around the village in my car on the drive home. I need to tell you about the life-changing discovery that is: roasted broccoli* (um, hello, Green Deliciousness. Where have you been all my life?). I’ve been blown away by so many wonderful novels the last couple of months, and I’ve been saving up things to write about them because: trust me, you need to read these books**. They’ll change your life for the better. There are pictures and pictures and pictures on my laptop that I want to show you from the places I travelled to last year: from rainy Amsterdam, to the Southern heat of Georgia and North Carolina (where I was complemented by a gargoyle. Yep, you heard me right), to the green-doored Moniack Mhor (which is the most beautiful writing centre up in the North of Scotland. I spent maybe the best week of 2016 up there and fell back in love with writing while discussing the importance of stories with kindred spirits and eating, amongst other things, some great quiche). 


Oh goodness, there's so much to write. But *scratching record sound* – not for another few months. (Dangit.) This blog is on hold for a little bit longer because of the Great Time Consumer and Attention Demander and Monolithic Mega Project that is The PhD

I’ve mentioned that I’m doing a Creative Writing PhD before, I’m sure. But in case you didn’t know: that’s what my full-time – albeit unpaid – work is at the moment. I’m in my final year and that word – final – brings with it a very real sense of urgency as the countdown till the submission date ticks a little louder, and a little louder, in my ears. I’m very deep in the heart of finishing off the novel just now (and enjoying getting a clear run at working on it. I feel most 'alive' while I'm writing, even if also I find it very difficult). But I'm a terrible multi-tasker. So, to get to the end of the novel, I’ve had to become a bit of a hermit for a while. The only way to 'hear' the story is to switch off all the other noises, it seems. Noises like: Facebook, and watching TV, and, I’m afraid to say, the news (because, heaven help us all, it just frazzles my brain these days. But being stunned into panic isn’t helpful to anyone. I’ll re-engage with it when the book's finished). All those are things I could do with less of anyway, but other noises that I’ve had to turn down include, yes, this blog and other good things like: leaving the house sometimes, and seeing my friends more than once in a blue moon***It's just for a season though. I believe in the work. It'll be worth it in the end (...right? *nervous laughing*).  


Anyway – I just wanted to say: please do keep checking back on this blog, because I’ll be returning to it in a few months. Writing on here is one of my favourite things and I was overwhelmed last year by so many of your generous comments on my posts (thank-you). I will be back. 

In the meantime, I have been ‘micro-blogging’ over on Instagram since the new year if you're interested. What does that look like? Well, I’m trying to take at least one picture a day that tells a story. And I also talk a lot on there about how much I love Jane Eyre and how the writing is coming along. You can find me under @teaandascone). See y'soon. 

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Notes:

*Broccoli: Okay, this can’t wait. Here’s what to do. Chop the broccoli into little trees, toss with a little olive oil (if you have garlic infused oil, all the better), salt and pepper and bung it in the oven for about 15-20 minutes (turning it a few times so it gets crispy all over) and: voila! (You could also add some lemon zest, chilli flakes and a little grated parmesan. Amazing. Even if you don’t think you like broccoli: try it. Let me know if you like it).

**Books: the good books include Olive Kitteridge, All the Light We Cannot See, I Capture the Castle, and Jane Eyre (obviously).

***friends that I haven't seen in a while: I haven't forgot about you. I still love you. (Don't forget me ). I'll be back in the world soon.

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