Saturday, 2 January 2010

Initials and Other Beginnings

y friend Sinead was given a copy of The Red Book for Christmas. It's a beautiful thing: a sort of illuminated manuscript (can it be an illuminated manuscript without any gold illuminations?), full of exquisite illustrations and lettering. It gave me an idea.

For some time, I've wanted to make my my blog more attractive. I love Zina Dreams and The Hermitage, and I've been wondering how I might give this site a little of the visual appeal that they have.

Sinead showed me The Red Book last Tuesday and I spent much of the week working on my own decorated initials. I'm glad to start the New Year with a slightly new look, although I am also quite concerned that I'll get carried away and forget this is supposed to be primarily a writer's site.

In order to justify the inclusion of my M then, I will note that it reminds me a little of the cover of The Hobbit, and thus also of my father, who first read Tolkien to my brother and I when we were children. I remember being in my brother's bed, listening. I only seem to remember this happening once, although my father read the whole book; so I must have layered all the readings onto one. I don't remember my parents reading us anything else either, although I know they did. For some reason, The Hobbit is all I recall, possibly because I loved it so much.

My brother's room was long and thin and his bed faced the window. I could see the tips of branches, electricity pylons and the roof of our neighbours' house. I remember the warmth of the bed and of family and the mustard yellow of the carpet. I remember the oak toy chest that my father made, one for each of us, from an old wardrobe. I now keep piano music in mine, even though I still can't play the piano, and a broken cuckoo clock, and old cuttings from Just Seventeen.

I think of Bilbo's road going ever onwards, and I wonder whether I also wanted to use my M because it formed a link between my childhood and the present. I suppose the river or stream that I have running through the valley could equally be my own road still winding.

Those mountains are beginning to look a little ominous.

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