NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS FROM TORBAY TASTEMAKERS
Devon is home to an abundance of creative talent renowned the world over. Each year, this lateral bunch keep plugging away, pushing boundaries and grabbing hold of every ounce of life. On the dawn of 2019, The Shorely asks a handful of Torbay’s tastemakers to share their creative resolutions to inspire the year ahead.
“Too easily does a creative mind become confined by anxious thoughts; for writers these can pertain to the business of publishing, endless marketing chores, admin that seems to grow with each year, the pervasive sense of futility than often accompanies the vocation, domestic disruptions ... it goes on. And it can be almost impossible to imagine freely and enter the zone required to write meaningfully if your mind is too distracted: in some ways too conscious and self-aware of everything but actually writing. Same thing if your thoughts turn dull and stale from tiredness, the concentration tank run empty from travelling the same old paths without reaching the required destination. But to transport a reader, a writer must first transport themselves.
It's not often I advise writers to take a trip away from their desk because we complete work by staying put, sitting still and disciplining ourselves to defeat the horror of the empty white space that is a page. In most cases, the best thing a writer can do to stay creative is to keep writing and rewriting, or by taking time out to read something you find affecting. Staying immersed in language can lead to a breakthrough, eventually. But there will be times when that approach won't work and we have to remove ourselves from our desks and working spaces.
What we are blessed with in Torbay and South Devon is a near boundless and accessible natural beauty. Out there, inspiration is plentiful. Local walks on the coast path from Broadsands to Brixham, or Goodrington to Paignton Esplanade, through Marriage Wood to Churston Cove, around the Lupton Estate, or through the wetland behind the leisure centre, are the walks I often take to unknot my thoughts.
A vista of the sea, whether it be blue or the colour of metal, and a faraway horizon can be the best remedy for feeling stuck or just blank. Being surrounded by trees without site of any development can be transporting. Once my body is energised, the blood pumping and I'm sucking in more oxygen, the imaginative process always kick-starts. I discover phrases to describe what I am seeing, feeling, experiencing whether it be the effects of the light, the sound of wildlife. Scenes and stories are never long in coming and the desire to write something returns.
Too easy to forget, or to convince oneself we don't have the energy or time. But more energy and a higher quality of time at the coalface will be the result of a good walk, a bracing swim, or time spent outdoors admiring the natural world. My next novel actually came out of my incremental progress along the South West Coast Path, across three winters, from Topsham to just before Salcombe. Walking one section of coastline between Kingswear and Brixham produced so many ideas for scenes and characters that I took a notebook with me on walks, and then a Dictaphone, from then on. The start of the previous novel, Under a Watchful Eye, that is mostly set in Torbay, came to me when sitting on a bench between Elberry Cove and Broadsands; several other chapters flowed as I sat on a bench in Roundham Gardens above North Goodrington.
Thinking creatively has never been a purely cerebral exercise for me; it's strangely physical and emotional too, some might say spiritual. But all of these variables need to be working simultaneously to get me into the zone to write. As I often say, the Bay provides.”
CO-DIRECTOR OF THE LUCKY 7 CLUB & MEMBER OF THE HOT HOUSE FOUR
“A creative resolution I’d like to recommend, to the people of Torbay, is to be brave and try something new. Whether it's learning to play an instrument, taking part in dance workshops or going to see more live music - be brave and try something new! I decided to take up the accordion at the age of 40 and it has changed my life. I would never have gone down this path, met the people I have and probably wouldn't be a Co-Director of The Lucky 7 Club if I hadn't decided to play music!
Trying something new could be learning an instrument, like I did, or maybe deciding to go and see more live music. Go see a band you've never seen before or a venue you've never been to before… give yourself the chance to experience something unexpected. Trying something new could also be taking part in workshops, maybe dance or burlesque even! We have some amazing workshops coming up at the club and if there's no one to go with - go on your own. Give yourself the opportunity to develop creatively, push boundaries and meet new people - be more brave in 2019!”
“My New Years resolution for creative people everywhere is don’t look at other people’s work! It’s so easy to get sidetracked on social media, comparing your own work to other makers, but all that does is make you feel insecure and dilute your own ideas and creative inspiration. Focus instead on what inspires you and your creative work, look inwards to who you are and your own ethos and tap into that for your own real creative definition.”
Adam Nevill is the author of the horror novels: ‘Banquet for the Damned’, ‘Apartment 16’, ‘The Ritual’, ‘Last Days’, ‘House of Small Shadows’, ‘No One Gets Out Alive’, ‘Lost Girl’, and ‘Under a Watchful Eye’. He is the winner of The August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel and was Best in Category: Horror, by R.U.S.A. Several of his novels are currently in development for film and television, and in 2016 Imaginarium adapted ‘The Ritual’ into a major motion picture. More info: https://www.adamlgnevill.com/
Lisa Briggs together with her husband Willy Briggs, daughter Lola Gaskin-Briggs, Dan Morley and Tim Heming are The Hot House Four. They blend a creative mix of Western swing, early jazz, blues, swing and ragtime with twin guitars, accordion, lap steel, harmonica, mandolin and upright bass. Since forming five years ago, they have played all over the UK and several times in Europe, stirring up a storm where ever they go! Their debut album - Old Havana Moon - is out now: http://www.thehothousefour.com/ Lisa and Willy are also part of Co-Directing team at The Lucky 7 Club - Paignton’s most secret arts and music venue - see https://www.thelucky7club.com/
Isabella Day is an award winning Artist Goldsmith focusing on the bespoke, the beautiful and the unusual. After seven years in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter Isabella has fulfilled a lifelong dream to live by the sea and has relocated to a beautiful open studio in Cockington Court Craft Centre, in Torquay. Isabella specialises in making her own gold alloys, including peach, rose, green and grey gold, and is currently studying the art of Japanese metalsmithing to expand her creative potential. More info: https://isabelladay.co.uk/