A Month In London

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In a few days, I’ll be heading off to London for a month-long sojourn.  There is no plan beyond a round-trip plane ticket and a place to stay.  I’ve been to London a few times before and have done the tourist thing both in the city and throughout most of Great Britain.  This time around its all about soaking in life as it happens and finding inspiration from different surroundings.  I’m a writer looking for her next story and a novelist looking to finish her second manuscript.  In a sense, this trip is going to be one enormous free-write session where no part of my normal life will be able to interfere.  No day job.  No dogs. No chores.  No routine.

Five journals will be joining me for the ride.  The first is a poetry journal I’ve been keeping since January of this year.  Most of the poems I’ve posted here have come from this journal and I’m anxious to fill it with more experiments.  The second is my brainstorming spiral.  Several short stories have been partially outlined, along with the framework for my second novel.  There are empty pages that need to be filled and I think a visit to the British Museum or the Tate will help fill in the missing pieces.  We’ll see!   The third is totally blank and meant for nothing more than free-writing and random thoughts.  Some of my best work comes from writing without a purpose.  This is the journal that will go everywhere with me because inspiration hardly ever caters to convenience.  With this one in my bag, I’ll be ready to jot something down whether I’m sitting in a park or waiting at the bus stop.  The fourth is my reading journal to keep track of my crazy reading habit.  Not only do I enjoy a good book, but reading is an essential part of my writing process.  My reading journal helps me analyze a book down to its core, which in turn helps me pick apart my own writing.  The last is an art journal where I combine visual components with writing.  It’s a departure from the other four in that it gives me a place to be creative through various mediums.  I’ve always enjoyed creating collages with paper layers, photographs, and sketches.  An artist I am not, but working with my hands has always been a great source of inspiration.  Very often, the visual I’ve created will pull out the words I need to write.

I’m staying in a small suburb in North London in order to avoid the tourist mania that usually engulfs the city center during the summer months.  Muswell Hill is known as a quiet part of  the city that’s filled with green parks and tree lined streets.  The pageantry is left at Buckingham Palace and I won’t hear Big Ben chime, but I will see what real life is like for Londoners when the tourists aren’t watching.  The neighborhood is quaint and filled with little local establishments including a coffee shop and a cute sandwich cafe that will probably feed me many times over.  It’s in this little enclave where I hope to blend in and write until my pens run dry.

During my stay, I will be updating this blog often with experiences, stories, thoughts, and hopefully some new fiction and poetry.  My tagline says “Just following my muse . . .” but in this case I think she’ll be following me.  I hope she’s up for this little adventure!  A long-term visit to London is something I’ve always wanted to do and the timing finally feels right.  My instincts have lead me to this juncture for a reason and its up to me to walk the rest of the path wherever it leads.

c.b. 2011

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19 thoughts on “A Month In London

  1. Enjoy your adventure! I am happy to hear you will be posting as you go…vicarious pleasure for me… Best wishes for filling all your journals. You might want a small travel set of watercolors to go with the art journal. Just a thought. LR

  2. Maggie Elice

    Sounds so fun! How did you find such a place off the beaten path? I’m sure you’ll keep better notes than I did during my 3 months in Washington. The way I looked at it, I was a resident Monday through Friday and everything was normal to me, but on Saturday and Sunday I took off my business attire, put on jeans and shoes and became a tourist. It was a good balace. Hopefully you don’t take too much time smelling the roses, and not take in the great things that attract people like you to begin with.

    • A friend of my mom gave me a site that specializes in long-term lodging. I did a lot of research on various neighborhoods until I found the one that seem to fit my needs. The person renting out the room is someone I clicked with instantly, so its a good deal all around. I’ve seen most of London and fallen into just about every tourist trap, so this time its about taking walks in the park and breathing it all in. :-)

  3. So excited for you! This will be a wonderful adventure and I Know some Great writing will come out of it! And I love that you have all those journals! I currently have three: my novel journal, my daily free-writing journal, and the small one I take with me everywhere for those spur-of-the-moment ideas. Can’t have enough!

    Can’t wait to follow your adventure and read some of the writing that comes out of it! Have a magical time!! :D

    • Thank you! It’s already so inspiring to know people will be reading and essentially traveling along with me. :-)

      p.s. So glad to know I’m not the only one who has so many journals! ;-)

  4. Woo, this is awesome!! My family is all nearby in Scotland, but I actually haven’t been to London since I was really really young.

    Lots of super adventures to come, I’m sure! It’s really inspiring that you actively find the time to do what you love. Happy travels :)

    • I went to Scotland a few years ago and thought it was incredible! Your family is surrounded by so much beauty!

      There is always time to do what we love – we just have to keep an eye out for those golden moments and grab ahold of them. I don’t want to be 80-years-old wishing I had done this or that. I’d rather have the memories of what I’ve done. Every since I hit 18 I’ve been traveling – it’s an essential part of my life. I always find another unexpected piece of myself in every place. Who know what I’ll find this time! :-)

  5. I can’t help but be a bit envious. At the same time I can’t think of anybody who would get as from from this trip as you will. Ever since I heard about your trip I have pictured you in any books I read about London, or photos or anything that takes me there for just a moment.
    It is so wonderful that you followed your dream and made it happen. Have a safe and exceptional trip. Can’t wait to read and then hear all about it.
    Rita

    • Thank you, Rita. You inspire me every week in WIG and I don’t think I would have the gumption to do a thing like this if it wasn’t for you and everyone in the group. Inspiration grows over time and makes us bold – See what 3 years in WIG has done! Instead of sitting at home, I’m following my muse. :-)

  6. Have a marvelous trip! I can’t wait to hear about your adventures through your imagination and the city. (I hope to go to London one day too, so I’m excited to hear more about the UK. :) )

    • Thank you! :-)

      It’s only been a few days, but the experience is already incredible. I’ve been to London a few times, but this is the first time where I’m not in a hurry. A slower perspective really changes the atmosphere of the city.

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