Guest post by the fiction writer Robert Craven
As a writer, I am a creature of habit, a creature of ritual. I wake up at 5am every morning and pad down to the sitting room and open the back door. I live near the sea. Sometimes you can hear the waves crash on the shore, sometimes you can get the briny tang on the breeze. The coffee pot gurgles, and I begin to plan the day’s writing. I love the sense of elemental, water, fire, air, and the earthy smell of the garden. I love the early morning solitude. The ritual never changes; wake up, make coffee, and write.
A journal is essential to me. It is my laboratory, my “potting shed”. Between projects, I free-write, filling the pages with everything and anything, dumping the brain’s content onto the page. Early morning is best where the subconscious and conscious converge. I write the words and seek connections, links, and hopeful creative sparks. When I am writing my novel, I keep another journal as well, with my notes and research – I see it as a road map, a direction finder, and of course, a green house.
The musician, Jon Bon Jovi once described his songs as children being sent out into the world, but I don’t see my works as such. I see them as tree saplings planted into the earth. Some will flourish, some will struggle, and some will die. The journal, the laboratory, the potting shed is the one constant. The reminder of what was once was. The label in the plant pot.
When I finished my fourth novel ‘Hollow Point,’ I thought I had completed the series of war time adventures of agent Eva Molenaar. But a visit to Berlin in 2016 changed that. Berlin is not so much a city as an eco-system of modern culture and divided history. The city had framed my narrative through my series, and I decided, Eva needed a fitting end and so I began researching, writing and in January 2017, ‘EAGLES HUNT WOLVES’ began.
And this brings me to Berlin Notebook. Paper and ink are my life blood, and the ethos of Berlin Notebook appealed to me; its mission statement to be more than a supplier, to be the foundation of a creative process. The Berlin Notebook for me is the ‘seed’ and label for the potting plant, the book is paper created from the body of the tree. From the pages of the early morning journals, an organic process begins that results in a book in the hand or placed on a shelf.
Robert Craven 04.09.20