5 Aug 2012

For the Love of Writing

As every writer knows, the craft of writing is a solitary affair, days, weeks, months and years are spent perfecting the art of story telling. Like little jewels, words appear from every aspect of our lives. I became aware of gems in the form of beautiful words in quotations when I was a teenager, attracted by their seductive power of engagement that caressed my thoughts and enlivened my imagination. Then life happened...and I was steered off course for many years, entertaining a series of diaries and my children with bedtime tales.

It was The Tarka Project undertaken with my partner, Harry Williamson, in 2009 that inspired a new reason for writing. We spent six weeks in our homeland of England, Harry capturing film of ‘Tarka Country’ in Devon, while I wrote copious notes and co-ordinated the project. It is too complex a story to outline in this post, its origins go back to the turn of the 20th century, when acclaimed author, Henry Williamson wrote Tarka the Otter. For anyone wishing to follow its trail, a link is given at the end of this post.

Since then, I embarked on the writer’s journey to tell the stories that are close to my heart, and have discovered that the craft of a word-smith is a life-long apprenticeship on the quest for mastery. With patience and mountains of support from family and friends, I persist and am currently working on a collection of stories – and developing a writer’s presence. 

****We interrupt this longwinded introduction for an important announcement**** Maribel’s stories have flown off into Cyberspace to land among five blogs of kindred writers, who have kindly shared her guest posts with their readers. This is how it all began three months ago...

Writer, poet, and senior content editor of Writer’s Digest, Robert Brewer, put out a challenge in April on his regular My Name Is Not Bob blog. He set a task for writers all around the globe to increase their blog traffic by pitching an idea as a guest blogger. Thinking “What the heck, I’ll go straight to the source,” I quickly threw an idea or two across cyberspace to land in his inbox. Within a day, Robert had replied expressing an encouraging interest in the topic I had pitched, and defined the goals: a word count for the guest post, a short bio, a photo and a deadline. I was thrilled – it was that easy!

‘Writing Blind’ - Have you ever wondered how a writer with vision-impairment or total blindness is able to operate a computer without seeing the screen? How do they move around in cyberspace without cursing the cursor? How do they craft their work writing blind?

To read the full story -

Soon after the guest post went live to Robert’s American readers, Amy Bovaird made contact. She too is a writer and has the same eye condition as me and was so taken by the story she invited me to do an interview for her blog – so, we did!

The three part interview about my life, the Universe and almost everything can be read on Amy’s blog -

One inspired piece led to another when my poet and artist friend, Bee Williamson, invited me to write a story for her new blog site. The theme was to choose my favourite curio – it came to me in a flash, and crafting the ideas into a story was a joy.

The article begins:
In 1973, I found this quaint curio when our family was spending a wonderful year in Madrid. While Dad researched his first book, A Manual of Colloquial Spanish, and Mum enjoyed visiting her relatives, my brother and I had a great time exploring the streets and special places of Madrid, not far from where our mother was born.

Full story:

With three guest posts ‘out there’ being enjoyed by a new audience, I didn’t waste any time responding to a call for material by Stella de Genova on her blog ‘Vision Through Words’. Stella and co-writer, Jeff Floddin, regularly post stories about blindness and other related issues. I saw an open invitation to introduce myself to the other side of the world without having to leave my desk. Within a couple of days, Stella expressed an interest to include my story in the section ‘creative person of the week’. A shortened version of the interview was launched at:

Encouraged by the kindness of my writer peers, and chuffed to read the page views increasing on my blog traffic, I kept on writing. While doing research for the post on Cathar country in the Pyrenees region for a post, I stumbled across a beautifully crafted essay by travel writer and photographer, Meg Pier. She had all the background details there. I had no reason to rewrite them. I wrote to her and asked if I could link her story to mine. Now feeling quite accomplished as a guest blogger, with four posts in under three months, and with the motto learned from youth ‘the squeaky wheel gets the oil’, I squeaked in her direction with an offer of a story about Australia. Meg was delighted and invited me to write up a new piece.

One month later, “Under granite skies of the Australian bush” can be viewed in full colour at:
The most surprising part of this short journey into the blogosphere has been how quickly these fellow writers across the world have opened their hearts and connected through our mutual passion for expressing our experiences through the written word. I want to acknowledge the encouragement my new friends have shown me and I offer my readers the links to view their work too. My deepest thanks to Robert, Amy, Bee, Stella, Jeff and Meg who have made the solitary work of writing a shared experience, rewarded by forming new friendships that shine like the words we work so hard to polish for the love of writing!

“Slender at first, they quickly gather force
Growing in richness as they run their course
Once started, they do not turn back again,
Rivers and years and friendships with good men.”
Sanscrit poem

Background story of The Tarka Project:

To enjoy a short YOUTUBE film set to Tarka Music with Harry’s footage of Devon –

© Maribel Steel 2012

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