Posts Tagged ‘The Great Gatsby’

This week I spent some time doing research in an old church.  Its origins are 12th century and you can feel the age of it in the cool air.  I read a plaque dating back to 1419; the history of an entire family written on monument stones; ran my fingers over misericords carved by experts in the 15th century.

I could, and have, happily written scenes in and around churches.  They are a useful way to tie different time periods together and to follow links between one generation and the next, especially where they have stood for such long periods of time.

But heritage is not just in monuments of religion, but also in emblems of our changing culture. For example this scene, taken when the British weather was rather kinder than it has been recently:

History and Heritage

Levant Mine, Cornwall

This is part of a World Heritage Site, remnant of an industry that shaped the land and the community.  It’s hard to imagine this place was once bustling with people; we went when the buildings were closed and all you could hear were the waves, and the birds.

There are nearly 300 years of mining tales to tell based on this one site alone.  There is tragedy, and sorrow, and change in those stories.   There is a lot of scope for someone who wants to write social commentaries or reflect on life for normal people in difficult times.

Any ruin, no matter what the building once was, can feed your writing imagination.  There are secrets hidden in standing stones, messages carved into windows, graffiti scratched onto bricks.  Even buildings such as the Tower of London have words and images left in the walls.

They are a record of life – the life of the building as well as the life of the person.  I’d never suggest someone wrote from the viewpoint of a wall, but if walls could speak, they’d be able to give us a lot of juicy items to include in our stories.

History and heritage can fuel our writing so explore your area and see what secrets you can find in the ruins.


Book challenge update time – this week I managed to complete 2 books:

Book 11 – The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  I haven’t read any earlier Holmes, but I watched the BBC show ‘Sherlock’ and the CBS show ‘Elementary’ so took a gamble that I would be able to follow everything – it worked out, luckily! I enjoyed this book and enjoyed working out the mysteries.  It was easy-going, and the multiple story approach suited me.  I’m not sure I’d want to read a single story in novel length though; I found some of the hints and clues a little too serendipitous!

Book 12 – The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  I was expecting a lot of this book, having heard it described as a classic, a must-read, a stand-out in American Literature etc – and I was a little disappointed.  It was fine, not really gripping to start but from about half way through it was more engaging. I thought the female characters were archetypes and not real women, and most of the characters were vain, greedy and selfish, which makes it hard to care about them.  Gatsby’s father stood out as a touchstone of reality.   It seemed decidedly one-sided for a real love story, and I felt frustrated by the ending and the lack of punishment for Daisy and Tom – and can only think that their continued unhappy relationship was the punishment.  For me, it was not enough.

I’m reading a children’s book next, just so I get some sense of justice!

Until next time,

Happy writing



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