It is the 1960s and a group of young writers and artists gather on the Greek island of Hydra. Leonard Cohen is at the start of his career and in love with Marianne, who is also muse to her ex-husband, Axel. Australian authors George Johnston and Charmian Clift write, drink and fight. It is a hedonistic time of love, sex and new ideas. As the island hums with excitement, Jack and Frieda Silver join the community, hoping to mend their broken marriage. However, Greece is overtaken by a military junta and the artistic idyll is threatened.
Today I am happy to bring you a guest post, written by the author. Enjoy!
When Virginia Woolf declared that writers need a room of their own, I have always taken that metaphorically, meaning that, in order to write, you need mental space. For me, I find that space while swimming, driving alone, sitting on a train or gazing out at the sea or a meadow. Much of writing is thinking and planning so that when you eventually sit down at the computer, you have already prepared, almost like thinking ahead about what you will cook and then undertaking it. It never takes as long as you think it will. It is important that writers internalise their ideas, keep them a secret. I have known people who tell others about their ideas and talk then out. Then when it comes to doing it, the impetus has gone. It is in that privacy, that secret, that writing thrives. This does not mean that other people do not, inadvertently, give one ideas. It is through interacting with others, travelling, meeting new people that inspiration might strike and if you are observant, you see and hear things that may inspire a story, poem or novel. However, the irony is you may be writing about and for others but you need to keep it within and think/write about it alone. It is rather like taking photos in public but working in a dark room in order for them to take shape and form. I have been lucky enough to have a life-partner who understands this and, if I go quiet, he knows that I am thinking and he does not quiz me.
You cannot plan to be inspired any more than you can plan to fall in love. It happens when you least expect it. Moments which have inspired me to write include seeing a child’s sandcastle swept away by a wave; finding an injured pigeon on the horse track in Siena; watching lobster catchers work in Maine; seeing a broken glass outside a restaurant and hearing about neighbours arguing over an island in their cul-de-sac.
Inspiration has to come from within. In ancient mythology, the muse breathed ideas into the heads of artists while they slept. I often have ideas coming to me in the night.
It is awful when ideas won’t come but so wonderful when they do.
Thank you, Tamar Hodes and LoveBooksGroup.
About the author
Growing up, Tamar Hodes’ neighbours were Leonard Cohen, his girlfriend Marianne, and other writers and artists on the Greek island of Hydra. Her parents took her to the island to pursue their own art and writing. However the bohemian nature of Hydra destroyed their marriage. The Water and the Wine is a fictional account of those days.;Tamar Hodes’ first novel Raffy’s Shapes was published in 2006. She has had stories on Radio 4 and others in anthologies including Salt’s The Best British Short Stories 2015, The Pigeonhole, Your One Phone Call, the Ofi Press, MIR online and Fictive Dream. Tamar was born in Israel and lived in Greece and South Africa before settling in the UK. She read English and Education at Homerton College, Cambridge. For the past thirty-three years she has taught English in schools, universities and prisons.