The Art of Writing

I’ve just returned from a wonderful trip to London – meeting writerly friends, sightseeing, drinking cocktails… What’s not to like! I also visited several art galleries and it reminded me of my days in Paris as a young woman, when I would wander around on my own, visiting such places. Happy times indeed.

I don’t profess to know much about art and my favourite era is the very popular Impressionist one. Last week, at the National Gallery, I was thrilled to see one of Monet’s famous waterlily paintings.


I also visited the Tate Modern, not expecting to enjoy this trip as much. In the past, I haven’t been a fan of contemporary art… You know the sort of thing – a painting of a dot on a line called “A Dot on a Line”. I’ve always thought, what’s the point, I could paint that? So with a slightly narrow mind, I headed over to Southwark.

Wow. What a revelation. Thanks to the descriptions on the walls of each piece  I think, after all these years, I finally *got* what contemporary art is all about.

It’s not so much about what is on the canvas, but what isn’t there and how this makes the viewer feel. One piece was a large silver plate with a pile of silver pots and cups pushed to one side. Apparently any class of Indian household has this crockery, and the point was that for many families, they remain empty of food, just like in the display. I also learnt about cubism and the geometric art that became popular between the two world wars… Apparently this regimented style was favoured by artists as there was so much chaos in reality.


All of this has got me thinking about my writing. One of the first things I learnt as a writer was to spell everything out – never assume the reader knows what is in your head. And this certainly gave my writing some much-needed clarity. Yet now, whilst I think clarity is everything, my visit to the Tate has made me question whether I have taken that too far and could do with making my plots even more complex, and make my brain flex harder – like it had to when walking around the contemporary art displays.

So yes, lots to think about and a great week, and I can’t wait to visit the Big Smoke again. Cheers all!

London cocktails

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