Thursday, 3 March 2011
How I Write - Sharing Ideas And Such
The past week, we've been driving across country on a short break. We started from our home in the Scottish Borders, on the East Coast of Scotland, on the shores of the North Sea, on Saturday, and have driven down to Oxford, from whence these words are being formed. Today, we went to Avebury, one of the most spectacular places on the planet, a World Heritage site, no less. We've been visiting Avebury for decades, and it's where my son's naming ceremony was held. But this visit, today, was one of the most special I've ever had. The second half of Changeling, features the area around Avebury. Savernake Forest and Marlborough feature in the narrative. And whilst we used to live very close, and visit the area a great deal, we've not had much direct contact with it over the past decade. Since our move to Scotland last year, Wiltshire has seemed a long way away.
So today, driving down to Savernake from Oxford, and them across the A4 through Marlborough and up the Avenue into Avebury.. I was in a different space than I've ever been in before. So much of the road I was travelling, is named in Changeling. And Changeling has now been read, and is about to launch. It was filled with collywobbles and goosebumps. Anticipation and happiness, and some trepidation, but mostly, just sheer excitement at the route. I drove off into Savernake for a few hundred yards, to breathe in the forest's scents, and remember how it feels to be deep in its embrace. And to think of Joanne, and her journey out of the forest, and how I'm finally sharing that journey with people. :-)
So I thought I'd bring you all a gift, from Avebury. In joy of the day. Something I'd noticed on the walls of the church in Avebury, many years ago, and had been meaning to incorporate into a story many times, and have never done so far: a story carved in stone, in one of the Churches.
This gift to you, carries on from my post about naming characters. And this is the gift...
On the wall of Avebury St James, there is a wall plague. It is in Memory of a John Mayo of Bath, who died on 3rd May 1830, aged 86 years, and his wife Jane, who died in 23 Nov, 1836, aged 76 years. John was the son of a previous vicar of the parish. The plaque also remembers his 5 sisters, all deceased. They are:
Barbara, died 1793, Elizabeth and Thermuthis, died 1797, Mary, died 1819 and Lucy, died 1820.
And that's my gift to you - Thermuthis. The daughter of a vicar of Avebury St James, who died in 1797.
Why was she called Thermuthis? It's such an odd succession... John, Barbara, Elizabeth, Thermuthis, Mary & Lucy. How did that look in the day?
And she died the same year as her sister, Elizabeth. Twins? Some joint disaster, disease? And the wall plaque - raised after 1830, no doubt, and then the predeceased sisters named. Did none of them marry? Did they all die 'Mayo', and that's why they are on the plaque? Or was the memory of their father, who had been vicar at the parish, so strong, that all his children were named, after John died and his estate bought the plaque?
Such a little slice of stone, with a few words carved on it. And a whole world of mystery opened up by it. This is how I write... I take small things I notice in the world, and ... wonder... how did that come about...?
And why, was she named Thermuthis? And who is Thermuthis? Have fun with it. I have, for decades! :-) Thermuthis Mayo, it's a bit of a shock when you google and find out there was more than one....