I mentioned yesterday that I was seeking a writing challenge and I have been scratching my head over what to tackle. Last year I wrote a hundred 100 word pieces each day for a hundred days.. It was hard but I enjoyed it and in fact carried on doing it for a couple of weeks afterwards. Previously I’d attempted a 77 topic list I came across, but after reaching the 30’s,, the suggestions became repetitive as if whoever created the idea was running out of ideas. I’ve googled ‘word lists’, ‘writing challenges’, ‘writing topics’, but none is quite the right thing for me. Because I write so much and so often, thinking of something to write from these would be easy-ish,, and not really a challenge because I’ve done it so often.
I looked up odd village and place names, but that didn’t help, except that it gave me an inspiration. I shall have to think about this a little more, but maybe I could use Uphill, the village where I live as my inspiration. I could either go to or think about a particular place in the village and write something from whatever strikes me. It could be a road or house name, it could be a building or garden, it could be inspired the history of somewhere in the village, or an event which took place there.
Thinking along those lines, thinking about what I’ve just written:
- a particular place in the village – one of the bridges over the rhyne. A rhyne is a Somerset word for a drainage ditch or channel, pronounced ‘reen’ not ‘rine‘. The Uphill Great Rhyne discharges into the River Axe near where it discharges into the sea.
- a road – we live on Thornbury Drive which I guess is named from the small market town in Gloucestershire, the next county north from Somerset. There was allotments where the houses in Thornbury Drive are, and then a caravan site for holiday makers. Thornbury itself has had people living on the site since Neolithic times, the Romans settled for a while, and then William the Conqueror’s mistress lived in a manor there.
- or house names – Sandcroft Cottages, Rose Cottage, Park Cottage, Old Schoolhouse, Coastguard Cottages…
- a building – the ruined windmill, the roofless church, the art deco house, the quarry’s gunpowder store – remains of, the pill box on the beach…
- or garden – from my window here I can see the front garden of a house adjacent to ours. An elderly couple, passionate gardeners lived there, and the front garden was a picture at any time of the year. Then sadly old age caught up on them, now it is abandoned.
- the history of somewhere in the village – the early hunter-gatherers, the neolithic settlers, the seventeenth century smugglers…
- an event – the night the Dolphin burned down in 1860 – thankfully soon rebuilt….
I think I have found my challenge; I don’t think it can be time limited, at the moment it seems very open-ended, and looking at my jottings above I have seven places to inspire me already. I’m using plaes as a stimulus, not to write a history of our little place!