The best place to start this blog lark is with a quick explanation of its title - why 'Scallops'?  
It came to me in a dream:  short stories are like scallops!  Similes and metaphors don't usually come to me in my sleep, I wish they did,  but on this occasion  I had watched rather too much of Hell's Kitchen before bedtime.  At some point, the wannabe chefs had competed to free perfect scallops from the gelatinous mass inside the shells. Craggy-faced Gordon was not pleased if any scallops had been spoiled in the process which, of course, most were.

A short story should also be small and perfectly formed:  it is the result of the skillful cutting down of a large, slippery concept in to a small, firm morsel of art.  As a writer still learning her craft, I know how easy it is to mutilate a good short story.  But I am hoping I'll get better with practice and - fingers crossed - that'll happen before my face turns too craggy...

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Sunshine State

Here in England, Spring is late: the coldest Winter for 31 years has kept the blossom and daffs at bay.  The clocks go forward this weekend and still the Spring is reluctant.

There are a million reasons to miss England when I'm in my adopted California but the Winter is not one of them.  I've been here since March 4th and, as much as it pains me to admit it, I find it too difficult to write here.  And one of the major reasons is the weather.  

I've certainly been more productive in my writing than I've ever been since moving to San Francisco.  The sunshine is great, obviously, but even the rain there is more inspiring.  When it rains, it really pours:  American weather is more dramatic, her skies more variable. 

So, since March began, I have written nothing creative at all.  And I never write anything when I am visiting home - whatever the season - but the odd thing is, back in San Francisco, I find it almost impossible to write about anything other than England.   The language, themes and characters of all my stories are quintessentially British.  It's as if my nationality is a prism and when the Californian light shines through it on to my page,  all the wonderful colours appear; colours that are invisible to me here.  

I'll be back in San Francisco in April and I can't wait for the sun to shed new light on my most recent trip home and bring on the Spring.