Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Autumn Calls

Seasons of mellow fruitfulness... A post of sentimental indulgence.

The time is almost upon us, where the nights start to draw in, the trees start to shed their leaves and the earth carries the fruity aroma of fungi forming below ground.

When I woke early this morning, the air carried the feel of a dull sun; the dying embers knocking on the door of a summer past its sell by date. Once firmly planted in our mind, the memories go slip-streaming through the chicanes, the carefree days touring through Europe, winding up zig-zag passes; dropping down through lakes; stopping at village shops selling peaches the size of footballs on the route southwards, to end up lolling on beaches with lazy holiday reads under beach umbrellas; watching golden crisp bodies amble along the water's edge; mummified skin hanging in the folds of aging couples, found walking hand in hand along beaches teaming with new life; passing men flexing muscles, who wink at girls in the hope of starting the life cycle all over again; and all this already melting into the story vaults, even though today's 30 degree weather prediction has been heralded as potentially the hottest day of the year.

It is already sunny, it will be hot, but in spite of this, the air has 'That' feel about it. 'That' feel reminded me of my teens, when the price for the long summer laziness had to be repaid by the sewing of labels on sports clothes, bedding, school uniform, blazers and hats; it seemed an endless pastime, that moved the remaining days of the summer holiday into an ethereal state of inevitability. It is 'That' feel, that now encroaches on the onset of Autumn and the hope that we will have those bright blue skies, crisp Autumn mornings, dank mists rising to refresh the balding flora and fauna, before they fade from glory.

So whilst I remain in nostalgic mood, a sentimental blast from the memories of my childhood.

The Brother and Sisterhood of Awen,
From Beyond Green Hills
by Rosie Jones

Passion lies just beneath a man's skin, more often than not fused to the soul through the umbilical.

Accused of fanaticism, clansman ship and an overbearing desire to convert all mankind to the love of all things Welsh. A nation divided by much more than channel or border.

The smell of dank rain on tarmac choking the back of your throat, artificial and false against the natural beauty, made good to form lush green pastures, raised from root by a regular cleansing.

Sheep roaming on undulating hills, grazing on the Almighty's grass, pure driven by the relentless beating of the wind.

Occasional lines of washing, whipping and flapping laundry, as white as angels wings; seasoned women in their pinnies, keeping a watchful eye for a turn in the weather; moisture only a kiss away from the mountain tops, as the base of flat bottomed clouds skim grass the colour of envy.

My grandmother used to black the grate like an act of devotion, kneeling on slate slabs hewn from ancient rock, sculpted to fit on earth floors and now worn smooth by the rubbing and pacing of life in front of the fire.

Lamb basting in the home range, fired to a heat that sears a welcome to all who enter the heart of the home. Proper lamb, where every mouthful contains the taste of Welsh dew, twisted with mint to freshen the breath.

Drop scones and Welsh cakes sizzling on the dying heat of the cast iron, the smell of earthy potatoes baking amongst the embers of the rapidly cooling furnace, not a drop of energy wasted.

There is a Celtic rhythm that beats on every street corner, that can be heard amongst the language of the gossiping women and their clacking tongues, or from the music in the babbling brook, or drunk from the heavenly backdrop of the choirs singing in the Baptist churches on the Sabbath.

In the valleys, the pits laid to rest in reverence to God to keep the Lords day pure. God fearing superstitious men, humbled by the ghostly whispers of their ancestors, that echo up the empty mine shafts singing like Sirens from an ancient shore, tempting the men back to work.

Daily, emerging like grey Gothic ghosts with underground eyes and gums the colour of beetle juice, but on the Sabbath, black haired, grey-faced men in miniature, hands in trouser pockets, hunched against the bracing wind. Scattered with occasional giants of men, Sunday sleeves at half-mast, caught short by Holy showers, their twisted Worsted shrunken and re-shaped into unfashionable style.

A land built from the colour of legends, dragons, damsels, kings and rebellion. Militant streaks of stubborn resistance fight against oppression and challenge the power of men, bellies fuelled with the fire of injustice, as the English invaded and stripped us of Our industrial wealth.

This is the Hwyl that cruises through the veins of Welsh men and women alike, a gift from the Goddess of Awen, from within, or beyond any of her Green Hills.

Today will bring with it yet more editing of my script Repentance, but on the balcony, mourning the end of summer, enjoying whatever last generous jewels she has to offer; and tomorrow, as they say, is another day...

Saturday, 1 August 2009


Am I still breathing or did my shadow just overtake me?

You are looking at some of the most expensive real-estate in the UK. Sandbanks in Dorset. Houses dripping in the water, perfectly visible harbour side, yet road side closed to prying eyes behind reinforced boundaries and gates of steel; buildings and owners left to bask in the retreating rays of a dying sun. This one includes a football manager's house that was recently covered on the Piers Morgan mini documentary of life on the 'Banks'

I went with a host of work colleagues on an evening jaunt around a tug in Poole Harbour. The smell of burgers singeing on the hot plate and hot dogs competing with onions sizzling in a tin tray wedged between a row of dead chicken meat, meant we were followed by an endless trail of hopeful gulls gliding in the slipstream, waiting to pounce at the first opportunity of any overboard offerings. It was to be the only calm in the last ten days of my life, as
'Sequel to Cannes' crept up on me with the speed of Warp factor 20. The weeks have bled all to easily into another; no punctuation, no end or start to a week, just one continuous rush of hours disappearing like the speed of sand passing through an egg timer.

Sequel to Cannes brought a host of wonderful people, wonderful stories and intrigues and insights by jobbing writers of what it is like to write for Eastenders, have your film commissioned or talks about how to get your work out there in front of the right people, or experiment with new ways of telling stories. As importantly, attendees were networking like crazy and offers of deals, support or funding was heavy in the air. Poole Arts Development had received three phone calls before noon on Friday and more in-depth meetings had been set for August. Good luck guys.

The feedback on the event has been tremendous, reassuring, they have filled me with a sense of a job well done and whilst I don't often indulge in self praise and there is still room for review and improvement, at the moment I need to indulge a little; to know that the time and the effort that took me away from my own writing was worthwhile to more than a handful of people. The successful case studies and endorsements will be loaded onto the website over the course of the next month and if the influx of positive messages are anything to go by, the event will be a definite on the 2010 film calendar of Dorset film events.

A well known producer reminded me he had yet to read my sit-com or costume drama I promised to send him for his Christmas read, I have been shamed; he has a two month time frame tying down finances before his latest international film project takes wings of flight in October. So no guesses what I will be doing for the next month at least, Oh well it hasn't been a very good summer anyway.

It is the giving birth that is the err, not born through the fear of rejection or adverse comment, I just want my script to be the best it can be or that I can get it to before submission, and I am unsure whether to release it for early ridicule, or fine tune it AGAIN for yet another edit. But I feel the time is almost right, I have to launch before he loses interest and walks away, so next week will see me furiously re-reading 'Repentance' for the Umpteenth time before I press 'SEND'. I'll leave it another two or three weeks before I send my Rom-Com. It requires a total re-write and I haven't had time to completely finish adapting my 'Sifting of Ashes' novella into script format, an Autumn joy I feel. Too many projects and just not enough time but I will at least see 'Repentance' birthed. Maybe I need to start being smarter, pitching more in the first instance and writing to demand or interest. Gosh, it's a big world out there and I know that sometimes you just have to spread your wings and fly and if you fall, walk around dazed for a while before risking being airborn again. Wish me well in my Quest... the next stage of my writing journey. A Teenager chancing her luck in the world of grown-ups.

Today I delivered my 'Radio Workout' to the Writers' Study in West Moors, seven hours of concentrated effort by all those who came and we finished the day with the basic characters, outline and heartbeat of their stories. They might have been amazed at what they achieved, yet I felt nothing but pride that they were able to walk away with all the main elements needed to build on the kernel of their ideas; armed with a clearer understanding of the form and what it takes to write good characters, effective dialogue and the importance of working to a story structure. Talented writers...