Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Fiona Robyn's blog tour

From here on in, Aliya and I will be hosting regular flash fiction pieces by guest writers. What better way to kick things off than providing a stopping point for Queen of the hyperflash fiction, Fiona Robyn, on her blogtour, which takes place throughout July. Not even Foo Fighters hit the road this hard. More importantly perhaps than the fact she writes perfect gems about being alive is the one that she has a vegetable patch. Surely the title of this blog is proof enough that we like a decent bit of veggie culture. Fiona couldn't agree more with our veggie/writing crossover ethos:

I can't decide whether growing my own vegetables is easy-as-pie or never-ending-excrutiatingly-hard-work. It seems to depend on how often I do the weeding, and if I've just eaten some home-made blackcurrant jam. I also seem to need to learn the hard way. Last year I watered my sweetcorn seedlings on a scorching day. I knew you weren't meant to water plants in the middle of hot Summer days, but I didn't think it would do them THAT much harm. Every single one shriveled and died a painful death.

"Gardening does feel a bit like writing a novel. Little and often is the key. Paying attention to detail. Plucking out bad words/weeds. And most importantly of all, taking pleasure in the process. Getting satisfaction from completely clearing a little corner of nasty weeds. Enjoying the sensation of sliding ripe raspberries from their white cones. Yes - it's good to bite into firm new potatoes dripping in butter - but the journey is just as important... in the same way that noticing my small stones is just as important as writing them down.

Do you think everyone is capable of experiencing those special moments that are recorded by your stones?

Yes, absolutely. I'm more likely to experience those moments when I have a bit of space in my head - doing things more slowly, focussing on one thing at a time - and so I think we can all improve the chances of these moments occuring by doing the same. I still have days that pass in such a whirlwind that I don't notice a single thing properly - but at least writing a small stone gives me a daily prompt!

Here's a question in mock-haiku. It seems appropriate:

What's your favourite
gem? Tell us about it.
Why's it so special?

Hmmm that's like asking a car enthusiast to choose between his cars! I suppose some of them tend to 'strike me' with more force when I read them, such as the stones I've chosen to end each month in the book. They often tend to be shorter. A few examples of these are:

Quarter to nine:

I look and look at the huge full moon

a white rabbit bottom bobs in the beams before dissolving into the dark

blackbird on bare branches, his beak a chip of flame

A chip of flame for a beak. What a great image.

Have you ever experienced that special stone feeling and somebody else has got it too?

When you ask this question I think about two people sitting in deck chairs and watching the sun go down, but even then they'll be looking at their own sunset, through the filter of their own preferences and experiences. So no, I can't remember having shared this feeling with someone else at the time of the 'moment', but I hope that other people may experience a similar feeling when they read a few of the stones - the ones that resonate for them.

Fiona's book Small Stones: A Year of Moments is available now.

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