Thursday, 21 January 2010

Found Treasures!


I am often asked where all the ideas for stories come from and my regular answer is that they come from everywhere and anywhere,  if you choose to look and choose to see.

.  This was brought to my mind when I received the following  great email from Kim Herring  Reader Development Librarian in Northumberland, where I will be giving some master-classes next month. I could not resist sharing this with you in full:

Dear Wendy

…. Having read the pieces in your blog again over the past few weeks, I thought I'd tell you about a rather odd experience which ties in with much that you've been talking about recently, and which I wouldn't have 'noticed' in quite the same way without having read the blog …

We'd been called into a meeting here, which wasn't directly of relevance to me, and I was perched on a table at the back of the office, feeling rather bored and looking around for distraction … next to me on the table was an old book, which had obviously come to be kept as part of our commitment to JFR (Joint Fiction Reserve - Northumberland retains authors with names beginning with El - Ez on behalf of the whole country) 

The book was a chunky faded red, and looked really out of place among most of the more modern books also on the table, which was why I noticed it in the first place.  I opened it, and there on the first page was the title 'Madame Claire' and name of author - but what attracted my attention was the dedication, in faded black ink, under the title details - 'For Miss Park, Who in the opinion of the Authoress, must shoulder some of the blame and take some of the credit for this first effort.  Affectionately, Susan Ertz.  Menton, April 1923'  

Needless to say I was immediately transported many miles away from a mundane library office in Cramlington!   Who was Miss Park, and how did she help Susan Ertz?  And what were they doing in Menton?

I don't think I would have noticed this in the same way, without having read the various things you've mentioned in the blog Wendy, so thanks for expanding my awareness in this way.  I'll now be keeping antennae out for more - it certainly makes life more interesting! 

Best  Kim

I am so excited to read Kim’s words, which are inspiring in themselves.  As she says  - Who was Miss Park, and how did she help Susan Ertz?  And what were they doing in Menton?

There certainly is a novel there. Perhaps I will persuade Kim to write it….

Do you  treasures around you that pulse with story? The book illustrating this piece – published 1912 - reminds me of Kim’s red book. The inscription inside is not so romantic as hers - Elizabeth Mary Wardle. 1938. - but it is s life lived,, a life to imagine.



  1. What a great e mail from Kim and a worthy testament to the inspiration your blog provides Wendy - always so thought provoking, so full of ideas and stories!

    If I think about my stories then I think my first inspiration often comes from place and rarely from an object - somewhere I know, somewhere I've visited. But then of course place has to be peopled and so the search continues. As you say Wendy the ideas for our stories are everywhere. Recently I was much inspired by an interview I heard on the radio with a soldier's wife - her story and others like it have been percolating in my head and I'm sure will emerge in time - in new and different forms in my writing.


  2. I find it humbling how many stories are out there just waiting to be found. I wish there was time to write them all down.
    I have to echo Avril, it must be satisfying to know how others find your work an inspiration.



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