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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