The black bog

I don’t know if I first read ‘Lorna Doone’ by R.D. Blackmore, or whether I first heard it on the radio as a serial or play on ‘Children’s Hour’, but it’s a story which has stayed with me ever since, it was so vivid, and exciting! I was captivated by some of the scenes – Jan climbing the waterfall and finding Lorna, the Doone’s secret stronghold, the way the clan were great villains , Carver shooting Lorna through Oare church window, her apparent death, Jan chasing Carver, and then Carver’s terrible death in the black bog. I found that very unsettling, even though I was used to baddies coming to a terminal end. In cowboy films the baddie, struck by a bullet, clutched his chest and fell to the ground dead – or plunged over a precipice, or was swept away in a flood or a landslide… but to have Carver, with his terrible wound to his arm, sinking slowly into the mere… it was shocking and disturbing.

The idea of a bog, dark, mysterious, deadly, of marshes with only a certain safe path through, lit by deceptive will-o-the-wisps, of people and things disappearing, maybe forever is a powerful image. I haven’t yet used a bog or marsh in any of my novels although my ‘hero without a story’ Gus, does get stuck in the mud, but that is by an estuary.

I do at the moment, however, feel a little as if I’m sinking into a writing black bog. I feel stuck and stymied, and struggling, I don’t seem to be making progress, and there seems to be so many deadlines approaching. I’m involved in two anthologies, as well, of course, that 50,000 word challenge of the national Novel Writing Month which approaches!

Although we have been busy over the summer, and done lots of lovely things, we haven’t actually had a break away and maybe that’s made me feel dull… Lovely sunshine and sitting in the garden, but there’s always the chores, and the ironing, and the battle against the garden which has become rampant with the combination of wet spring, long hot summer, damp early autumn and now sunny again. I do feel as if there is a bit of a bog surrounding me – more mentally than actually, of course!

However, I’m preparing for NaNo more rigorously than I have before because I know it’s going to be a struggle – over November there is a wedding which will be over a whole weekend, and a family party – both wonderful but I won’t be able to do much writing!! So over this weekend, I am going to have a clear the decks blitz… and put various things out to pasture for a while, so I shall be ready for next Thursday, November 1st… I shall clamber out of the black bog and back onto dry writing land!

My featured image is the window in Oare church, through which Carver shot Lorna.


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