Spring days…beyond the waiting room of the world.

We herald the coming of spring with welcome arms and lifted hearts.

The crisp coldness of winter has passed, so to has the drab nothingness of January as described by C.S Lewis, that anti-climax after the festivities and over indulgencies of Christmas – “I’ve always found this a trying time of the year.  The leaves not yet out, mud everywhere you go.  Frosty mornings gone.  Sunny mornings not yet come.  Give me blizzards and frozen pipes, but not this nothing time, not this waiting room of the world.”

So I sit here on an uncharacteristically warm March morning with the sun upon my face. The first bees have awoken from their winter slumber. All around is a soft cacophony of birdsong. Finches and sparrows welcome the sun as I do and the collared doves declare their love in echoed coos amongst the tree tops. Banks of wild daffodils sway in the breeze and already the air is thick with the promise of summer.

When the world around us seems so unfathomably crazy at times, so endlessly hard and giddily fast…it’s days like this that remind us, of how lucky we are to live on this beautiful blue planet and just how magical life can actually be if we let it…

When the Griffin met the Dragon – My second interview!

My second in-depth interview! Woo-and Hoo!

(Yes, it is strange that this and Tricia’s blog came out on the same day, but you know…life IS strange and wonderful and bizarre!)

A few weeks ago I was thrilled and VERY humbled to be approached by the multi-talented, Ryan Holmes – a fellow fantasy writer, a skilled ‘Quiz Master General’, blogger extraordinaire and all round lovely guy.

Oh…did I mention that he also has my dream job?

He works for…(drum roll please)…NASA!

Ryan Holmes is also the creator of Griffin’s Quill, a fantastic website “created by authors for authors and their readership.”

Not only does it feature Ryan’s own writing, ‘Dawn of Resurgence’, but it is also dedicated to encouraging and nurturing new writing talent.

A great place and a real haven for writing and writers in general – highly recommended!

Well, over the course of the last few weeks I’ve had an absolute blast, as Ryan has well and truly quizzed me over my reasons for writing and my debut novel, ‘White Mountain’, Book 1 of ‘The Darkling Chronicles’ – published by Safkhet Publishing 30th September 2012.

Massive thanks to Ryan Holmes for all his incredible hard work and for making the interview so much fun! Check out the results here:

http://griffinsquill.com/2012/03/21/sophie-e-tallis/

Griffin’s Quill: http://griffinsquill.com/

😀

P.S. I still want to join NASA!

Escapism at its best!

Yesterday I was very flattered and rather humbled to be included in Tricia Drammeh’s – ‘Authors To Watch’, focusing on the work of ten new fantasy writers and their reasons for writing fantasy!

Tricia Drammeh’s question was this: “Why do you write fantasy?”

The answers were wonderfully varied and gave a fascinating insight into the writing processes and motivations of each author.

Some wrote from a compulsion and obsession to write, others from a need for escapism in a hard or dreary world. Some wrote fantasy as a cathartic release, a way of working through demons and again escaping a less than easy life, others simply because of their profound love of the genre, the way it can encapsulate the imagination like no other writing form.

My reason for writing fantasy? Probably all of the above! 😀

Huge thanks to Tricia Drammeh! Check out her wonderful website and the ‘Authors To Watch’ section here:

http://www.authorstowatch.triciadrammeh.com/2012/03/great-escape.html

Tricia Drammeh’s website: http://www.triciadrammeh.com

😀

New Zealand Odyssey Part V – Giant Sand Hills and the Mixing of Seas.

Taking my backpack and the rental car, I left my base in the Bay of Islands and headed far north to the very tip of New Zealand. With Radiohead’s latest album (at the time), ‘OK Computer’, as my travelling soundtrack, I followed the meandering State Highway north, as it hugged the coastline. Spectacular views flowed past me as a dreamscape. Beauty round every bend of the road.

It was a perfect summer’s day. Under an azure sky I crossed Whangaroa Harbour and continued north to Doubtless Bay, stopping off to have a picnic lunch on the white sands of Coopers Beach.

Dragging myself away, I took to the road again. The afternoon waned as I cruised past yet another breathtaking sight, the Houhora estuary. An inlet of very shallow water, crystal clear, with white sandbanks breaking the surface here and there. But nothing was to prepare me for what was to come…

Journeying ever northward, the highway, the only route north, eventually petered out at Cape Reinga, the most northerly tip of New Zealand.  I parked, just one of many tourists, many of them pouring from coaches and bus tours. But despite this, the place was still remarkably unspoilt and quiet. Leaving the car, I was inextricably drawn to the famous Cape Reinga lighthouse and its signpost, a testament to just how far away New Zealand is to every other country in the world!

Taking the coastal path, I walked along the edge of what had become my beloved Aotearoa (New Zealand) and watched in awe at the mixing of the seas –  a strange and beautiful phenomenon where the Tasman Sea suddenly meets the Pacific, just beyond Cape Reinga’s point.

I stood mesmerised by the sheer power and purity of nature. As the sun sank in the most gorgeous of sunsets, I found a sheltered cove just above a tiny beach and camped out beneath the stars. Just magic. Nothing but the sweet beautiful blue disturbed my sleep…

If heaven existed…this was it.

I rose early, just as the first throng of tourists arrived. To my satisfaction, I was not the only single-minded solitary traveller who had had an impromptu stay. Weary but intensely happy, these campers gave knowing smiles to each other as they filed out of the lighthouse ‘restrooms’.

I was reluctant to leave, but I knew there was one sight I could not leave without seeing for myself…the famous giant sand hills!

Studying my maps, I travelled back south a little way until I reached Te Paki, a small settlement of houses, then turning right I followed the Te Paki stream road, really no more than a rural track until I reached them.

I still cannot explain the startling sight of driving through green countryside and emerging from lush woodland to be faced with a desert landscape!

Towering sand dunes or hills surrounded by green…beautiful desolation!

I went exploring. Watching a small party of thrill seekers ‘sandsurf’ and body board was great fun, but it was solitude I sought. Suddenly I was alone walking along the ridges and shifting sands of the Sahara, the Gobi, the Kalahari…

The starkness and simplicity of nature was humbling and again, I found myself letting go of demons and dreaming of distant forgotten lands and cities of sand…

Misspent Drinking

Those screaming silences,

Between stilted conversations,

With old friends you cannot recall.

Lives so alien and different now,

But you were once thicker than breath,

Thicker than blood,

Bound together in each other’s angst’s and melodramas.

Years later now,

Suits now.

Staring blankly at each other over polite mutterings and cappuccinos,

Lives as empty as the foam crusted cups before you.

Sophie E Tallis © 2003

Insincere

People thought I was being ‘Stevie Smith’, very angst and prone to drama.

If you’re old you’re ‘clinically depressed’…understandable really…all those wrinkles staring back, more years behind than in front, a slow decay of time and body.

If you’re ‘middle-aged’ you’re simply in a rut. “Snap out of it!” they say, you’re not the self-obsessed youth you used to be, no time for such indulgences.

If you’re young you just can’t win. The loudest voice in the room but nobody’s listening.

Insincerity drips off the young who have a predisposition for blue…My youth has flown away now, my student days a haze – melancholic writings to paraphrase.

But then as now, my blue is simply a part of me, not showy, not angst…quite healthy now actually.

No longer just wearing black, colour creeps and leaves its residue, a hue to match my mood.

So no, I’m not waving or drowning, not making a statement, not needing help, quite happy, contented, as much as I can be, not full of old rage and hated resentments. Moving on, moved on… nasty neighbours but nice place, like the view…not insincere, not pretentious…simply blue.

Sophie E Tallis © 2003

Cirrhosis of the Soul

Drink

The old man

shuffled under

the weight

of      false

contrition.

Glassy eyes,

black and fleeting,

flicked up for a moment

searching for a sign of acceptance

…hoping for warmth.  Shoes like scraped

chalk,    yellow stinking breath,      shaggy

bearded  growths  flecked  with  grey  from

between the cracks. The figure was a mess.

A creature to be pitied…but the danger still

lurked.      You could sense it just under the

skin,  a  sudden  metallic taste in the mouth,

the feeling of rising bile.  ‘It’ sat down with

all  the  grace  and triumph of an aged prize

fighter. Its eyes darkly fixed, flickered with

malice and pride.  Its progeny had returned.

It  was  still  important,  still   in   control…

The

puppet

master

had

not

lost

its

strings.

Sophie E Tallis © 2002

Puppet Strings 25/365

Puppet Strings 25/365 (Photo credit: Louish Pixel)