Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Sometimes just searching for stories

Hello everyone, wherever and whoever you are. Here I am stirring up the blog after it's been left to settle for far too long and has probably stuck to the pan! It's been an interesting couple of years since I last wrote (actually I  can't believe it's been so long and apologise). I could list everything that's gone on but won't. Suffice to say we've all had a pretty interesting time of it since March last year and nobody needs to know the woes, the wishes or unfulfilled dreams that make up a Covid-19 year. But we can all wish for a better one.

Really, though, I  have been busy- visit my website: https://www.celiabryce.co.uk and you'll see - but I suppose this post is about my most recent writing project.  As you may or may not know I really love delving into the past and into the lives of the people who lived there. Much of my writing grows from this exploration and though I do write stories set in present day, the vast majority come from those eras and those places which I  am interested in. Such as life in the North East during Victorian times, the First and Second World Wars; the 1950s and 1960s- which, looking at where we are now, sound so very far away and long ago. But those eras are where I'm happiest paddling around in and discovering things to write about. 

Imagine my joy, then, to be given the job of researching North Shields, the town nearest to where I live.  This job has taken me out and about to research the place, to look at its history and to speak with people either on the street-socially distanced of course-and down on the town's famous Fish Quay, and through social media. I wanted to gather their thoughts about the town today and the town they remembered. I had the excuse to pore over books and old  maps (oh what a joy that is) and to make notes and plant facts into my head. What's not to like! 

All of that resulted in a number of positive outcomes: I found some wonderful material to work with; I read some amazing FB accounts of life in the town, decades ago; heard some great stories through Zooming and came across some fab photographs which people found in response to my questions. 

And apart from learning how to use a microphone in all weathers-bearing in mind that my part in the project started mid-November and ended in January- and managing to up-load my sound files, send them away and actually be sure that they really would arrive in the right place, I did learn a lot about my local area and more importantly about the deep feelings of the local people who live here. 

The end product, by the way, is a podcast, an audio and e-book publication of the story I wrote using some of the information and tales I came across. You can hear and read, 'Time and the Shoe Man' from February 10th. 

It wasn't just me and North Shields, by the way; there were another six places and seven writers who were doing the same kind of thing, at the same time, and over six subsequent Wednesdays you can read and hear all the other stories. 

And as I write this I haven't  yet heard any of the work that we've done. This is really exciting. We writers sent away our sound files and our completed stories to the wonderful Philippa Geering, with her production company, Sonderbug. Philippa has had the unenviable task of making it all work! I really can't wait to hear the end product and hope that you all enjoy it. 

So if you'd like more info on this, go to https//bit.ly/HighStreetTales and read all about it.

That's it for now.

Stay safe, stay well and try to keep everyone else you meet safe too.

Celia




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