It's so much easier to use all your senses when you go somewhere different. Skyros Island is no exception - the brightness of the light and the vivid colour of exotic flowers renewed my sight; the sound of the waves, the wind and the cicadas caught my ears. Wonderful herbs and cooking smells made me remember my nose! The taste of fresh juicy oranges, nectarines, peppers and aubergines revived my taste buds, and most of all I felt the rocks beneath my feet as I climbed the hills each day. There are no cars in the village, so walking is de rigueur - and you walk a lot if you want to go to the beach, visit the shops and bars, take in some of the scenery. In the intense heat, walking is quite an onerous experience. But this was just one part of this amazing break.
Going on a writing workshop for my summer holiday was the best possible change for me. Looking at things differently, talking about stories and how to tell them, hearing about ordinary lives made extraordinary in the telling - all this was invigorating and refreshing! I loved working with Aminatta Forna, author of The Devil that Danced on Water, Ancestor Stones and The Memory of Love. She explained what creative non-fiction is, and taught us how to use Proper Nouns to illustrate a piece, she showed us how making a time-line for a relationship could bring life to characters and she used music to remind us of times gone by.
I hope to finally bring discipline to my writing, which is a hobby I have enjoyed all my life. Doing something you enjoy but perhaps have forgotten about or put to one side for one reason or another can help you put things back into perspective! What did you do for your summer holiday?