Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Scotland, The Epic & I

I think something weird is going on with The Epic.  It seems to have developed a lifeforce all of its own and keeps feeding me surprising twists and turns that I have not anticipated!  It is almost as if it senses when I feel I am running out of steam with it because it will suddenly give me a boost out of nowhere and, without warning,  there I am - back in the thick of it and completely oblivious to the passing of time or the world around me.  Suddenly I am as tiny as a mouse or as big as the sky.  How can words - words that I write down - have that effect on me?  I am at almost 40,000 words now and it still keeps telling me this is only the beginning!

In the end I decided not to take it to Scotland with me.  Just as well because I would not have had time to add to it really with all the travelling we were doing!  Saw some amazing scenery though. snow-capped mountains, lochs, wildlife, waterfalls.  One thing I realized was how in touch with and proud of  their history the Scots are.  Every entertainer we saw sang "Flower of Scotland".  I am going to learn all the words before Steve and I go up to the Orkneys in a year or so.

One of the singers was a guy called Ronnie Ross.  He is pretty big up there and his renderings of "Ghosts Of Culloden" and "Ballad of Glencoe" - as tragic as the stories behind them are - were something of an eye-opener for me.  I have been wracking my brain since I got home for similar songs to mark events in English history with that kind of passion and you know what?  Proud as I am to be English and as much as I adore my country and will believe till the day I die that it is one of the most beautiful and amazing places in the world (Lake District, Yorkshire Moors, South Downs - the list is endless), I found it hard to think of a single song! Plenty about London - did you see Alexander Armstrong sing "London Pride" at the VE Day Celebration concert on TV?  Brought a tear to my eye, I can tell you.  But there is so much more to England than London!  This is something I may look into when The Epic releases its vice-like grip on my time!  Would absolutely LOVE it if anyone reading this can come back to me with some songs about English history....

So back to The Epic - here, just for you - are the opening paragraphs.  NB - any publishers or agents reading this please contact me immediately ...

Th sun was shining on the day of The Howl.  In fact, right up until The Howl, it had been another normal Tracklands day.  Tamininka would, from this day forward,  recall how she'd just been sitting quietly in the Woodside shrubs, tips of ears twitching as her big orange eyes took everything in enjoying the weather and her Tracklands life in general, unaware that it could ever change.  Even the mice were being good today.  The Becks family was enjoying themselves at their end of The Tracklands.  The Croyds never just enjoyed the sun they were far to militant for that.  Their place of residence - allegedly right in the heart of People-Eater territory - was more like a base camp, with drills and practice battles going on all the time, whatever the weather.  Or so said Red whose self-appointed job it was to keep everyone in The Tracklands completely up to date with everything going on.

Truth was, Tamininka never really knew what to make of Red and his - as he liked to call it - "reportage".  Had he been human, he'd have doubtlessly been a highly successful author,  Tamininka wasn't sure how she knew this, she just did.  He wasn't human though, he was a Ginger Tom.  He looked like a miniature tiger he was so huge and it was solid muscle.  Tamininka - Mouse-Warden extraordinaire - looked positively tiny next to him - a fact not helped by the obvious absence of  a tail.

(c) Jilly Henderson-Long 2015

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