Welcome to my blog. I’m Liz and this is my space to share all the things I am passionate about : photography, travel, arts & culture, food, creativity and well-being. Please join me as I document these adventures. Thanks for stopping by!

The Writing Habit | August 2018

The Writing Habit | August 2018


The Writing Habit

Sophie Caldecott’s Creative Writing Club

{Music Through Thin Walls or Clair de Lune by Debussy}

A seasonal shift is in the air and I am ready to embark on new creative challenges and projects. There is an area that I have been wanting to learn and improve upon and that is creative writing.  How I would love to be able to express myself more fluidly in words rather than just through my photography. It is also a excellent way to add moments of calm and reflection in my life, as well as taking a break from life's day to day distractions.  

Writing, where to begin? How do I start and what should I write?  Already, there is hesitation and self-doubt. I'm always keen to try new things but coming along for the ride with me are those two fools.  I acknowledge them and accept that they are along for the ride but tell myself we're going to do this anyway.  It will take time and practice and I will learn.  It doesn't matter if just a few words are strung together or if I manage a paragraph or two - it is a start.   

Earlier this month I came across Sophie Caldecott's free on-line creative writing club, The Writing Habit.  The aim is to make creative writing a regular part of your life.  Each month she sends out a newsletter with a prompt to get those creative writing juices flowing.  The newsletter is also filled with tips, suggestions, words of encouragement and lots of other inspiration.  One of her best tips is to jot down writing on your calendar each week.  Like an important meeting you cannot miss. You can check out (by clicking the following links) Sophie's beautiful Instagram account:  _by_sophie_ as well her website: www.sophiecaldecott.com - maybe you'll be inspired too to subscribe and join The Writing Habit. 

This month's prompt is music through thin walls or to listen to Clair de Lune by Debussy.  Immediately, I knew I wanted to listen to the music and simply see what it would stir in me. I haven't listened to Debussy in quite a some time, so I knew it would be lovely to revisit this beautiful piece of music. In listening, I was curious to know if a particular memory or image would pop into my mind. Sophie provided the following You Tube link for Clair de Lune - have a listen, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Pianist: François-Joël Thiollier Painting: "Starry Night Over the Rhone", Vincent van Gogh.

It's amazing what the power of music has in stirring our emotions.  It can be uplifting, joyous, melancholic or simply the appreciation for what an artist has created.  Debussy himself said in a letter: Music is a dream from which the veils have been drawn! It's not even the expression of a feeling - it is the feeling itself. 

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was French and one of the most influential composers of the 19th and early 20th centuries.  He has many times been associated with the Impressionist movement. Proudly French he was also open and appreciative of other cultures. Over the years, he developed his own style that went against the more traditional forms of classical composition. The sensory aspect of a composition was much more interesting to him. He said the aim of music "is to give pleasure" and that is exactly what Clair de Lune does for many.  Clair de Lune means moonlight and is one of the four movements from The Suite Bergamasque.  His creative process took time and consideration as he started this composition in 1890 and it was not published until 1905. 

The following is from a video I came across on You Tube that I think expresses Debussy's thoughts and ideas perfectly - the very power of feeling:

A tribute to the love between Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy

I listened to the piece over and over again and what came to my mind was a memory. A memory that had movement, rhythm and other elements related to music itself. Clair de Lune transported me to a moment in time in a beautiful place. In fact, it was this very month!  My family and I spent 11 days in the South of France.  Our home away from home was the charming town of Villefranche-sur-Mer.  It is set between Nice and Monte Carlo - but has more slower paced and peaceful feel than those two cities. 

My family of four were there along with my sister-in-law, her husband and their two girls.  Plenty of memories were made on this holiday and the one that springs to mind was the night we were walking back from our dinner in the town's main square.  Bellies full, children laughing, little dresses flowing in the warm breeze  There was no rush, no urgent need to be in another place - disconnected from a busy world we embraced the calm and headed home.  Feet walking on cobbled stones, we took a slow stroll along the water's edge, then up the many winding hills. A little breathless, we took it even slower walking down the graveled street of where we were staying.  

Just before arriving we were all stopped in our tracks by a red moon, peering through some village houses and a weathered old fence.  It was a moody and vibrant mix of red and orange.  It was bold, it was wonderful, it was sublime....it rendered me speechless until I was brought back to earth by the children. They expressed themselves with gasps of joy, curiosity and wonder while pointing to the sky yelling for all to see the fiery moon.

We were met with a flurry of questions as we moved on, up the stairs to our home.  Why is it red? Does is look red in America or England?  Maybe the man in the moon is having a party. More smiles and chatter as we made our way out to the patio for one last view of the magnificent moon.  You can see from the image I captured below, the last view before going to sleep was of the red moon shining over the sea, boats and town, embracing her light. It was like a painting that that will never be forgotten or a feeling that can never be reproduced - it belongs to the very moment itself.


Music is open to interpretation and what it resonates for one will be different from another.  I believe, the movement of a song most time stirs emotions - I can't count the number of times I've had goosebumps at a concert or show!  Clair de Lune is emotive and sensual.  The beginning of the piece reflects our walk home and then builds up to a passionate summit when seeing the moon shining over the sea. Softly and gently the piece ends when my loved ones and I turned in for the night.

I approached this writing challenge with curiosity and a desire to try writing whatever it was I felt about the prompt.  It was my intention and goal to simply start the very act of writing itself.  I played Clair de Lune on repeat while making a short bullet point note of the exact memory it gave me. The hardest bit for me was actually writing this blog piece - in all honesty, it took me a few hours to get the words out. Nevertheless, I enjoyed taking part in my first writing challenge and will continue to practice and make creative writing a habit every week.

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