The Roots of Influence and Inspiration - Part I: Home

Written by Sam Rawlings on Saturday the 12th of June 2010

This journal is the first in a series of pieces I expect to write about those certain 'elements' of life that inspire and influence my writing. I think it's important to acknowledge these elements, as essentially they represent the root of our craft, they are the seeds that precede the fruit of our labour, the 'components' without which our thoughts, our images, our music, our words would simply not exist.

I hope you enjoy my ramblings and in return I would love to hear all about the things that inspire and influence you. For as someone once said, "without sharing, the imagination becomes little more than an echo of itself.”

Part One: Home

Home seems to me to be as good a place as any to start out from, and so, in accordance with the themes behind our new publication The Book of Apertures, I'm going to begin this series looking at my childhood home. Over the years I've had many homes. I've lived inside numerous houses tucked deep within the countryside, inhabited a couple of cottages perched beside the sea and currently find shelter within a delightful little den nestled beneath the streets of London...
Yet, as so many of us do, still I return with a certain regularity to my childhood home, that familiar space where once upon a time my infant eyes first peered out at the mysteries of the world, where with grubby hands and dirty knees as a child I set forth on so many adventures. I suppose I am lucky to still be able to visit the exact same house and garden where I grew up, to still have access to those early elements that so inspired my imagination and filled my early life with magic, those childhood components that, even if they do eventually disappear from my adult world, I know I will never forget.

Throughout my childhood my bedroom remained the crux of my existence, a dependable refuge from the ever escalating world outside. I remember filling it with all the things that inspired me. It was almost as if, only once my bedroom had been established, could my creative mind begin. The habit remains today, and so I continue to work in that way, my moments of ingenuity always proceeded by waves of re-shuffling; as if something in me senses that it's time to prepare for the period of creativity to come.
Another thing that I remember about my bedroom, is the strange sense that comes from always having observed exactly the same view whenever I peered out of the window. As if framed by those wooden panes, the unchanging landscape outside became a perfect canvas for mapping the circling seasons... the rain, the snow, the sunshine; an obsession, I think,  which steamed primarily from my fascination with always leaving the window open, no matter what shape the sky outside.
In this way then, the cold became another element pivotal to my writing.  So many mornings I remember waking at the break of dawn, eyelashes like icicles, wisps of dragon-breath pushing through the fallen sunlight, imagination racing as I wrapped my duvet tightly around me before waddling into the warmth of the kitchen where I would then set about etching a new tale or poem.

 Kitchens have always remained a favourite part of any house I've lived in. My childhood kitchen was certainly no exception. I remember clearly the enormity of our wooden arm chair, the purr of our cats lain stretched the length of the table, the hum of the radio, the smells and sounds emanating from the oven.  It always felt as though this space were hopping and skipping and whistling and fizzing and buzzing before my eyes and ears and nose... not to mention the diligent streams of steaming mugs of tea, each one heavy and filled dangerously close to the rim.

Though, as much as the memories of these two rooms rest fondly in my mind, I have always felt most intoxicated whilst outside. To me, the garden was simply magical. We would spend days searching out, and then climbing up into, the mysterious hollows of trees.  The feel of bark beneath my fingers, the maze of knotted and gnarled branches, bent trunks, piles of acorns and the crunch of dried leaves. So too the treasuring of that perfectly formed skimming stone, the sound of clinking pebbles. Also, the fact that you could harvest your own food: strawberries, blackberries, gooseberries, nuts, apples, pears... the list goes on. I remember being particularly astonished by the natural balance of things, a phenomenon so wonderfully exemplified by the relationship of dock leaf and nettle. While the revitalising power of water, like some wondrous elixir of scrapes and bruises, remains to this day an endless source of inspiration.
I could go on and on... mushrooms, hedgehogs, foxes, bats, cuckoos, crows, robins, worms, woodlice, spiders, mice, rats, moles, bumblebees, wasps, slugs, snails, frost, dew, wind, rain, hail, snow, 
the Sun, the Moon, the stars. As if some fantastical realm, still I find most of my inspiration from that world outside.

And so this rambling of words slowly comes to an end.  Whereupon, I leave you with the image of me as a child, my limbs perched atop the splintered frame of our wooden front-gate. For it was from here that I first found myself looking down at the road that runs past our house, the feel of sun warmed wood beneath my palms. It was from this spot that I first became aware of the knobbled and spindly fingers that decorate my hands, the toes that still dance upon the ends of my naked feet. It was, after all, from upon that gate, that I first remember contemplating the distance  I may one day  travel.

Tags for this post: samrawlings, influence, inspiration, home, part1.

.i kind of see me in those artistic photos..alone but not lonely..staring but not bored..i love the chair against the pink wall
04anastasia 04anastasia22/06/10 1:14am

i kind of mirror me in those artistic photos..alone but never lonely..a blank stare in deep slumber of dreams
04anastasia 04anastasia22/06/10 1:08am

Nice one. Bring back dock leaves!
Conway Conway15/06/10 10:57am
We thought long and hard about it and after much deliberation, various conferences, meetings and discussions we have decided to shut down and close comments for this particular Journal (sorry about that).
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