Fear Me

So another week has flown by, and whilst I’ve just got home Charlotte is still on holiday, which means that it’ll be a quiet week for us but we’ll be back at it by the weekend! We’ve both been away this week and whilst we’ve been on our individual trips we’ve still been able to get our writing in either late at night or early in the morning.

But, for me it’s been a learning curve in more ways than one. I live in perhaps the flattest part of the UK – so flat that it’s only 10ft above sea level if it’s even that. I’ve lived most of my life here bar a few years in Derbyshire and Scotland but the memories of hills and mountains are something of a distant memory … until I’m suddenly confronted by them and I realise just how flat a landscape I live in during my everyday life.

I’ve felt the tug of my calves as I’ve walked up steep sloping walks, I’ve seen the way the hills and mountains roll dramatically down into ravines and rivers and lakes. And it’s been both humbling and daunting as I’ve walked here and there or stared in wonder at the actual beauty of the world that is around me. Seeing the way that the clouds and the mists will roll down the hills creating a dramatic landscape – or the early morning mists rolling off of the lakes.

All in all it’s been a very eyeopening trip. Reminding me that not everywhere is as flat as a pancake!

More than that, however, I’ve started conquering one of my fears: watermills. Don’t ask, I don’t even know where the fear comes from. But it’s so bad that I struggle looking at pictures of them without freaking out (which would be fine if one of my characters hadn’t decided he wanted to be a miller!) so I’ve had to make a conscious effort to try.

Before the trip, I do as I usually do when going to strange places – google to see if there are any, and if they’re not I can breathe a sigh of relief. Not this time. This time there were 2 which remained – a come down from the 12 that had been in the town originally. I’m just pleased I wasn’t alive then or I wouldn’t have been able to step foot in the town!

How it usually goes is this, heart starts to race, panic sets in and I look for the exits. Literally. I will run, bolt, call it what you will as fast as I can in the opposite direction. I can’t walk past them, even if they are on the other side of the road and if I absolutely have to then it’s eyes closed and fingers in the ears as I hyperventilate because they terrify me so. I’m then left shaking in terror for a good while after. I’d love to know where it comes from and one of my colleagues has joked that I should try hypnosis because she’s firmly of the belief that I was killed by one in a previous life – apparently it’s the only rational way to explain this fear of mine! But then she’s seen me watch Lord of the Rings – Balrog, Orcs, Sauron, all the bits you’re supposed to be scared of didn’t scare me half as much as the mill wheels in those.

So, I knew what I was in for, after I had googled. I knew that if I wanted to go into the town I would have to walk past not just one, but two. Without making a total scene and complete idiot of myself. I’d prepared myself by making sure that I had googled pictures of them, which granted I’d squinted at for a while before I could look at them dead on, in preparation of what I was going to see. And I’m not going to pretend that I wasn’t terrified, or panicked or wanting to run as fast as I could – but I was able to walk past, on the other side of the road and half look at it. Which for me is a major achievement!

This is the other thing they don’t tell you about writing. Sometimes you have to conquer your fears – because as we’ve established, your characters do what they want. If they want to be a miller, they will damn well be one regardless of whether or not you’re terrified of them or not.

All I can say is that this is a step in the right direction for me … who knows this time next year maybe I’ll be walking right up to one!

~ Clara

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