Thursday, 1 September 2016

Writing - From whence inspiration springs

My purposes for writing these posts is to try and help. Part of being inspired involves your imagination being sparked by some kind of stimulus. Stimuli for one writer can be like pollen to a bee or a complete turn off to another.

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William Wordsworth

I wouldn't be understating the case to say that the UK has become Londoncentric to the exclusion of the rest of the country. Just ask anyone who lives and works outside the capital. In fact it is the North that began the English identity.

If you take the northern limit of this northern chunk of England to be Hadrian's Wall and then for the southern most limit to be a line from Hull to just south of Liverpool, then you will have the greatest site of action for the Romans, the Vikings and much of the Industrial Revolution took place - a period of time covering hundreds of years. In fact the first English kingdom was that of Northumbria around the north east.

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In fact the north had a great deal going for it. In the early years it had the best soldiers; it had cultural backing from the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Venerable Bede's history of the English people.
Then came the Vikings who initially came to loot, but eventually brought their wives and families to settle largely in Yorkshire and Cumbria. The developments in this part of England continued in stages over the centuries but relations with the south of the country have tended to be strained.

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Daniel Defoe

Of course, as one would expect, writers have had their comments. Defoe, a dyed in the wool Londoner, whined that the north was a place of horror where nobody wanted to live. Yet not long afterwards Wordsworth was saying that the north was a place to inspire the finest feelings and thoughts. The two writers were in part talking of the countryside and it generated our interest in nature for hundreds of years until the present day.

Even so there has been an almost continual antagonism between the north and the south. From 1066 there has been an almost pathological distrust of the north. William the Conqueror adopted a scorched earth policy towards it because of frequent Scandinavian influxes. The north/south divide was reinforced further when Henry VIII outlawed Catholicism. It was in the North where you had the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion against the south. To a degree it was unsurprising that there were such divisions as the North was a very long way from the south, they developed their own words, patterns of speech and behaviours. Chaucer, in the 14th century, wrote that southern people couldn't understand the people from the north because of the 'different words' that they used.

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Writers use their experience and sense of identity when they produce their works. The sense of identity is a difficult concept to talk of because it is what other people tell you about. However, there should be mutual respect and recognition of the values and differences between different parts of the country. It should be seen as a richness.

God Bless