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Thursday, 21 July 2011

Focus On...Fiona Benson

Today's focus is on someone who really knows how to multi-task. Please welcome Fiona Benson, who is a writer, lecturer, mentor, fund raiser and...well, the list goes on and on! Here's her blog...


Passion is itself a beautiful thing. It is fabulous if you are able to share your passion with others.
Like Christina, I have a deep love of landscape. I was born and raised in Sunderland, on the north-east coast of England, so grew up surrounded by the massive natural 'landscape' of the sea. Beautiful. The beauty of natural surroundings has had a strong influence on my life as a playwright and poet and on my choice of settling in the stunning Forest of Dean, where I've lived for over twenty years.
A while ago I started writing prose pieces to perform at literary cabarets and found that my writings were a celebration of the Forest and my life within it - my day-to-day life in the present, but also revisiting scenes from previous years. I gathered the pieces together in an anthology and had a paperback published. I was thrilled when readers contacted me to say how much my tales had brought the Forest of Dean to life for them.
To share my passion more further afield I have recently epublished the collection under the title 'Hang On A Minute! Tales of a writer's life in the ancient Forest of Dean'. I have included here a short extract that I hope you enjoy. The collection can be found at:http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=Hang+On+A+Minute&x=14&y=25
 'From Mireystock to Highnam'
            "I'm climbing into the car at not quite the crack of dawn but definitely among the splinters. I'm away up the lane through Camomile Green, left down Worral Hill, on past the narrow ribbon of the river Lyd and I'm heading for the Mireystock crossroads.
            I haven't turned on the radio yet, it's quiet in the car, just me catching my breath between the domestic landscape and the travelling one, just me indulging in an overture of anticipatory silence.
            It's early to be leaving the village, the cottage, the study that's my writing room, but today's one of those days when I turn back into an academic to go and do college work in Cheltenham.
            I'm turning left at Mireystock, and ... am I sitting comfortably, then let the radio begin ...
            I'm passing the island of shops with the crazy coloured lettering, passing the Cinderford lights, driving up the winding hill past the church, in reverse slalom towards the summit of the Plump.
            I'm greeting the Gorgon tree.
            Morning, lovely morning, how're ya hanging?
            The Gorgon, with its long, wild and straggly branches is one of a special collection. The collection that's called My Favourite Trees. These include the old bearded-man tree at Speculation, the Truncated-trunk Elephant tree at Sallow Vallets, the Gorgon tree just before the summit of the Plump.
            I'm up and over the top of Plump Hill, with that tricky contortion that involves an irresistible glancing over to the right to view the horseshoe-bend of the river Severn - while simultaneously turning the car to the left, trying not to slither over the middle white line into somebody else's lane. Oh, sorry mate, lovely view!
            Then down, down the other side into Mitcheldean ..."
Thanks Fiona, that's a terrific evocation of life in the Dean!