This week it's all about British writer, Christina Cummings, who is one of the driving forces behind the Winchester writing group Pencils And What-Not.
IAAY is published every Wednesday (yes, all of them), so there's plenty of time for you to join in too! Contact me via the comments section or via Twitter: @mickdavidson.
It's All About Christina Cummings
It’s all about Everything
When I agreed to take part in IAAY, I hadn't predicted that, to my frustration, I would discover that everything I thought I knew and everything I’ve known would vie for my attention, so that to take just one aspect and offer it up as my inspiration would be to dishonour all the rest. It’s definitely part of my nature to want to gather up life’s wonders, like so many flowers and then not let go.
On deeper thought, some of the stems have fallen from my grasp and petals that once brought joy or solace, have dried up, lost to that place inside that exists just beyond memory. There are recollections more fresh than some, but nevertheless integral to my soul where inspiration nourishes me like rainfall.
I am not going to opt out altogether, or dodge this question for one simple reason: To know that which has driven me thus far. In questioning what inspires me, I question myself.
So, where does my inspiration lie? My answer is this: in everything.
Because I am a writer, however, I think mention here of just three of the many works I’ve read that have over my lifetime allowed the quiet seed to grow, is to give tribute to the symbiotic love affair which only writers and readers know.
- The Women’s Room by Marilyn French
- If you give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
- The Tie that Binds by Kent Haruf
It’s All About Me
My first manuscript is entombed upon a floppy disc. It dates back from the early 90’s when I was living in Philadelphia’s now hip and trendy Northern Liberties. Typing with fumbled fingers, I began the purge that underpins the need to tell a story. As the word count whirled, it was as though I were the captain of a ship, steering my crew to a safe harbour. Each tiny bit of action, each character was at the mercy of my helm. Or so I thought. What actually occurred was a mutiny. The moment they were christened, or given a voice, they guided me until on a ‘good writing day’ we were all in it together.
The synopsis wasn’t something I’d really thought about, but it was to be a story of unrequited love set in the deserts of Jordan. It seemed right to base the plot on what I knew, and the memory of spending a night near Petra with stars for blankets and a pillow of stone was the catalyst for what was the opening scene.
However this unfinished first manuscript remains hidden even from me now, as I can’t view it and had never printed it off. Of this fact, I'm glad – I’m sure the naivety of my prose would make me blush.
The piece of writing I have chosen for IAAY, however, is a more recent foray. The years in the interim have been rich with extremes and there have been days I’d forgotten how to write. But there are good days too. This excerpt is from a novel that I'm working on, for which my daily inspiration is the resolute and unwavering regard for life that I have, over time, learned from my mother, in order to survive.
“Autumn is for mushroom picking. Eidel wandered the woods, keeping her eyes down. The basket she carried, was the one her mother used to keep the laundry in once she’d unpegged it from the line ~ she used to tie the rope from the cornice of the caravan to a nearby tree or fencepost, and for as long as they camped in that spot, clothes would flutter like bunting along the length of it. Now, over half a century later, on a warm day, if Eidel leaned in close, she liked to imagine that she could still inhale the floral pleats of her mother’s skirts and with that breath she would picture her mother folding cotton sheets and smoothing down hems with hennaed fingers, smiling, happy at work. Her mother had never known how to feel otherwise.“
©Christina Cummings 2012
You can find out more about Christina at the following:
Chester-born Christina nursed, taught and sang her way around the world. Now living in Winchester, she is the mother of two amazing children, who still listen to her stories. She is currently wrestling with a novel.