Friday, 4 March 2011

Rosemary for writing

           
             
               Rosemary hedges were pin-bright with pungent flowers. Beyond, a promenade of cypresses, prelude to a field of lavender. And rising at the end of every view, the dominant theme: the creased blue hills of the Grand Luberon.
                                                              
                                                          from The Lantern

A few days ago I saw the first pale flower of rosemary in the garden. The sun is bright and cold but here is a herald of spring, frail and tentative still. As the earth gradually warms and colours deepen, the great hills that hang like a backdrop beyond this tiny hamlet will be so blue they seem to soak up the sky.

Now and then eagles and hawks will hover above, riding the thermals. The thyme and rosemary and lavender patches will release their musky incense under our feet, and the tender south winds will be silk on the skin. We’ll use the herbs in cooking too, releasing and intensifying their fragrance in the kitchen.

What has this to do with writing? Plenty, I think. I take the view that writing is observation, to a large degree. Attention to detail is what makes a novel seem real, whether it is rooted in a real landscape or real emotions and hopes and fears. What the writer needs more than anything is for the reader to recognize some truth in the words on the page.

When I am drafting a new novel, my most important asset is my notebook - just as it was when I was a journalist. A thousand details will go into it. Some will never be used, or will be cut from a later version, but they are the foundations of the story and the prompts to start each writing day.

26 comments:

Spangle said...

Great tip and wonderful descriptions within this post.

✿ ♥ France ✿ ✿ said...

Bonjour elle est superbe ta photo je ne sais pas si je connais cette plante.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Hi, Deborah. Just beautifully written and thoroughly enjoyable.

I also carry a notebook with me; those extra notes often come in handy when drafting a novel!

Have a lovely weekend, CJ xx

Debra Ann Elliott said...

What a beautiful blog. Thanks for the follow. Following back.

RICHARD MOISAN said...

Toute petite, toute pâle, mais elle est là! Toute mignonne.
Voilà le début d'une belle floraison abondante.
Belle photo. Bonne journée, Deborah!

kellyhashway said...

I agree. Observation is such a big part of writing. I'm stopping by as part of the blogger ball. It's nice to meet you.

Jennifer O. said...

As always, great post!

Kiki aka Victoria said...

Wonderful post...beautifully written..you have conjured a beautiful dance of images in my head...

I love herbs..and love your photo of rosemary..a memory herb...beautiful! yes I agree...well said.
Have a most wonderful wkd and beautiful week ahead!
Victoria~

Kathmeista said...

Wow I adore your blog! Stopping by for the She Writes blogger ball and returning the follow - enthusiastically. Writing is all in the detail and you've got plenty. I also love your other post on smell - smells are so intensely evocative and suffused into the bedrock of memories. Great stuff.

Bunched Undies said...

What the writer needs more than anything is for the reader to recognize some truth in the words on the page.

I've never heard it expressed better. Great post Deborah

llevinso said...

Stopping by on the blog hop (and just to say hi!). How do you come up with such beautiful posts like this so often? And, as always, love the photography! Heavenly.

Mystic_Mom said...

Yes! Yes! The observations, the smells and the sounds. The way the wind feels and the notebook to jot down the ideas, the research reminders and all of the things we gather to write. Thanks for this great post...can't wait for the rosemary.

vanessafrance said...

How true - I am never without my notebook and camera. I get some odd looks when screeching to a halt on a main road to snap something interesting.
Our rosemary is still at the bud stage but it looks as though it will be smothered with flowers when it does bloom. The mingled scent of thyme, rosemary and lavender is incomparable.

Leovi said...

Excellent description and a pretty picture. Rosemary is one of the most abundant plants here, and has many medicinal uses.

Janel said...

Details always make good stories so much more enjoyable. They are like that sprinkling of fragrant herbs to finish off a plate of pasta.

Serendipity's Library said...

Hi what a beautiful post. Your words are making my longing for spring even stronger. I am never without my notebook. It is almost an appendage as I so frequently have it in my hand. Thanks for stopping by my blog today!
Have a wonderful day.

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Lovely, lovely post. Details certainly add richness to a story. These touches may never be what the reader ultimately remembers about the book, but if they weren't there, the reader would sense that something was missing - like a herb or spice missing from a dish.

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Lovely post.......it's all grist for the mill!

la Brocanteuse said...

D you always take me away to another place - most enjoyable. thank you! Colx ~ Afrique du Sud

Anne K. Albert said...

Great advice, gorgeous site. I feel the urge to travel!!

Katherine Jenkins said...

What a lovely blog....thanks for your lovely comment on my blog! I'm visiting from the She Writes Ball....I will be back! And I'm following ^_^!

Nikki-ann said...

An interesting post :)

Sadly, nothing is quite ready to flower in our garden just yet.

llevinso said...

Hey, I just wanted to let you know I gave you an award. I posted about it here: http://femalebookreader.blogspot.com/2011/03/im-lovely.html

Deborah Lawrenson said...

Thank you all so much, again, for your comments, which are a constant source of surprise and delight. And again, it's the details in them that produce such a glow of pleasure, from Vanessa's small but perfectly-formed evocation of herbs mingling in the heat of summer, to Janel and Samantha's point about the finishing touches of great food.

And, of course, the fact that so many of you make return visits - from Richard and Leovi with artists' observations to the inspirational Kiki and La Brocanteuse - as well as new readers (welcome!). That's no detail, that is the best.

BookGeek said...

I do the same thing. I always have a journal or small notebook that I carry with me for my moments of inspiration, or when I have a need to write NOW. Lovely post.

KalpanaS said...

'' writing is observation, to a large degree. Attention to detail..'' Lovely reminder and beuatiful pic!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...