Well, I went to Hong Kong. The city towered in needle thin chasms, crushed the air of choked road and pathways, then fell away to open hills and rolling waves. I wasn’t inspired to write a specific story but my appreciation of the place was certainly inspired by one!

I always have ready a list of about 5 books that I can pull forward as “key influences” (such a list is useful for: Buzzfeed inspired trivia, and daydreaming that people are interested in me.)

I re-read one of those significant books recently: Titus Groan, by Mervyn Peake.

And boy, was I surprised. Now I had never actually finished this one, or the third in the series, and it was such a long time in reading any of his work that I had forgotten it almost entirely.

I had forgotten the depth and richness of the style but I had also forgotten the strength of it’s affect on me. I’ve always thought that Peake, above any other writer, most affected my sense of space. The way in which rooms and corridors, roofs and windows, jut outward and into each other, the tumbling changes of meaning that comes from the battering relationships of things. For example:

Above the turrets, like a wing ripped from the body of an eagle, a solitary cloud moved northwards through the awakening air quilled with blood.

But more than that it seems that Peake’s writing shapes my dreams. I have always had vivid dreams that I have run to or from nightly. Over the last few years their force on me has been lessening, I have been less frequently recalling them in the morning. Then, I started re-reading Peake, about a month ago, and since then my dreams have again become expressive and vivid. And again this is both pain and pleasure – the last two nights I have trapped someone in a vat of hummus, felt his drowning hands fighting against the lid I held down; and led people through the dark of an unreal world by an empty suit of armour. Experiences I wouldn’t have in the waking world, which I can’t necessarily say is a bad thing.

Seeing Hong Kong then, was seeing Mervyn Peake’s Hong Kong, but what would writing it be? I haven’t written any prose since then – I am currently in the planning stage of something – but when I begin to write what effect on my style will it have?

How is it for you when we write? Everything I read says that writing is about finding your own voice, but I feel I write only in borrowed words, occasionally glimpsing my staring aspect running through windowed tears in masonry dreams.

I’m about to re-read another one from my old-reliables list. This one from even further back in my childhood: the Belgariad by David Eddings. This I don’t remember at all, all I know is that is was very important to me. I wonder what might have happened to its as it mouldered down into the structured bog of the mind?

Does anyone else have any books they see as pivotal to their thoughts? Or any advice on how to find your voice amongst everyone else?

Till next time!

– Jonathan

oh. and if anyone is interested in things to do in Hong Kong, you can check out my other blog with my partner: http://www.fiandjonny.wordpress.com/

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