Inspiration at inconvenient moments

Tonight I’ve been writing. I hadn’t planned on it, but as I was putting the shopping away (Wednesday is shopping night) an idea popped into my head, inspired by the little brown amazon box that was sitting on the hall table when I got home. It was the sort of idea that I only get once every few months. Not a whole story, just an image in my head that had possibilities, the kind that I just can’t ignore. So I stopped with the shopping (luckily the frozen stuff was already away), grabbed my pen and notebook and started scribbling right there in the kitchen. Nothing might come of it, but it is an idea, and now I’ve begun putting it down on paper I know there’s a chance it might just grow into something good. 

Inspiration for me is a tricky one. If I force myself to sit down and write, I might get something decent – especially if it is on a pre-existing story. But more often than not what I force out is a page or two of nothingness that I forget all about the moment I stop writing. If I get an idea like tonight, that’s when I really enjoy it and most often get something worth keeping. The question is though, is it that I’m struck by a great idea and that’s what galvanises me, or was I already in the mood to write without even knowing it and that’s what’s made the idea seem so good? Chicken or egg?

Either way, it’s good to be writing. Ive been working on my second comic script (my first one was the Human Next Door – nice review here) over the last few months, but other than that I haven’t really written any fiction. Hopefully this will help me get back into it. 

Tonight’s writing has been accompanied by the Coraline soundtrack. A couple of years ago Jen got me the Mondo vinyl edition, which I still absolutely love to this day. Perfect writing music, when you tend to write creepy weird stories like me…

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Paris – Cereal City Guide

Later this month we’re off to Paris for thatbeastjen‘s 30th birthday.

I booked the long weekend away and originally planned to have it a surprise for her, right up until we got on the Eurostar. Then, as time went passed, I started thinking that you can’t really get excited about something that you don’t know about…

So instead I got her a guidebook to Paris as an early present and as a way of revealing her birthday trip’s identity. Now we get to be excited together and decide exactly what we want to do.

We went to Paris two years ago for her birthday and both loved it, so we’re not completely new to it, but the Cereal Paris City Guide features loads of places we would never have found out about on our own. Naturally, being a Cereal book it is gorgeously designed with a minimalistic feel. The photos are emotive and give you a sense of the place, and the descriptions are short but with enough information to make them useful.

I considered gettingĀ Quiet Paris by Siobhan Wall, having previously got Quiet London for my sister which was lovely, but decided on the Cereal guide as it is more recent, so hopefully less chance of places having moved or closed.

Can’t wait for Paris. I’ll be taking lots of photos and sharing them here when we’re back.

Cereal Paris City Guide and Eiffel Tower

Cereal Paris City Guide - inside 2

Cereal Paris City Guide - inside 3

cereal-paris-4

Cereal Paris City Guide - inside close up 1

Cereal Paris City Guide - inside close up 2

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Getting past awkward in portrait photos

I love portrait photography. I like engaging with people, and capturing who they are in a moment.

It is fair to say, though, that I haven’t got the whole ‘photographer patter’ down to a tee quite yet. Whenever I take a portrait, unless the person is unusually self-possessed, there is always that moment of awkwardness. They don’t know what to do (do they look at the camera? Cheesy smile? Awkward face it is, then). I don’t know what to say (do I make a joke? Should I be directing?).

What I’ve found, though, is that eventually there is a moment that breaks the tension, the awkwardness. Sometimes it happens quick, sometimes it takes ages, but it always happens and when it does there is that moment of relief of the subject’s face, that smile and relaxation that is so natural it is hard to capture at any other time.

Now that I’ve realised how good that moment can be, I’m going to chase it. We can be awkward, they can look uncomfortable. What I want to do is to find that thing that breaks the ice, and when it happens, to capture it.

Miss Nyss. #portraitphotography #portrait #skatergirl #s1helmets

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Maybe…

Maybe I should try and blog more in 2017.

I love writing, I love taking photos. It’s just writing about specific things for blog posts and taking specific photos for blog posts, that’s what I find difficult. Sometimes the thing I find difficult is the actual posting of a post. I’ll write it, or have the photos for it, and then just not bother to upload. Laziness, I think, or at least procrastination.

Or maybe I should just not bother blogging at all. Maybe I should just continue as I have for the last couple of years… we’ll see.

I’m not making a resolution. Simply saying maybe…