Posted: 28.06.21 at 12:32 by Elizabeth Renée Morgan
It was a deceptively sunny day when I met Abigail Remmer for a socially-distanced walk along the Atherstone Canal.
As to be expected of the English springtime, it soon began to get chilly, but the 26-year-old PhD student didn’t seem to notice. She told me that she was inspired by William Blake poems about the seasons, and it became clear to me that she lived through the pandemic like someone out of a Romantic novel.
Local forests, which we are so lucky to have dotted all over Warwickshire, had inspired her for years, and particularly influenced her second book, Traces of a Fox’s Kill (2020).
She often travelled to Markfield, in the Hinckley and Bosworth district of Leicestershire, and was also inspired by Warwick University, where she worked.
The leafy campus is currently in the process of accommodating a new nature reserve, which will help build upon the University’s latest ecological vision.
Writing during a lockdown can’t have been easy, especially not for a person used to creating adventurous content whilst abroad, working in the film industry.
It has been a strange time for free-spirited creatives. This past year has consisted of a lockdown that limited international travel, but Abigail found inspiration in the local area.
She shared an extract from her book with me, which will be released this August: "The oak tree has shed its last leaf, a whisper of a name clings to its roots like the flicker and flame of something more personal.
"The midnight hour hunts it down with a strangeness of heart that looms the feeble thrill of denial. Growth cannot happen from old fears."
I asked how she had felt during the lengthy isolation periods of lockdown. The time had actually inspired her most creative periods for both her book, and thesis at De Montfort University (which she called ‘exhausting’ - as with most creatives, structure and routine tires the author).
She also said she had started to view connections between people in a new light, and wanted to touch upon that in her work. I wondered if writers had a tendency to feel deeply, in comparison to others, but she modestly disagreed.
"I think creatives just express their feelings more, but they don’t necessarily feel more deeply," she said.
"I think it’s an inclination, and a calling, to share content, art, or words with the world. It impacts people, and changes things. I do believe creatives tap into a special part of humanity, which is to use the imagination and to harness a vision. In strong amounts, these visions can make moves."
I looked at the spot we had made our way to, where the canal boats were glistening in the watery sunlight. I wondered how it looked to a dreamy local author, who could make these scenes seem new.
"I do love walking," continued Abigail. "I can walk up to three hours a day, in nature. I love being near the trees. I think it’s because it’s away from people, and I can be with my own thoughts. The Atherstone Canal is one of those places that inspires me to think about love, human connections and such. It would be nice to walk it with somebody I really care about, but the pandemic changed that."
Perhaps that’s how the careful author writes so beautifully. She’s handing the locals what she sees.
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