Books and Baking: The Obernewtyn Chronicles, by Isobelle Carmody

For the past month I’ve been completely and utterly lost to the world of Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn Chronicles. I’ve cared not for watching television, scrolling through my Instagram feed nor even writing. I rue the time spent working and cooking and sleeping, when ever more pages wait to be devoured. This is not the first time that this has happened. Indeed, this all began – as did for most Obernewtyn fans – many good years ago.

I was fourteen when I read the first four books of the Obernewtyn Chronicles. Those battered, clear-contacted copies from my school library were my portal into Carmody’s world and I was wholeheartedly captivated. Elspeth Gordie was my hero and I clung to her story passionately. As I navigated high school, she navigated a world largely destroyed centuries past by nuclear holocaust, whilst grappling with her psychic powers and the ultimate quest laid out before her.  Little Wanderings - The Obernewtyn Chronicles, by Isobelle Carmody 2

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The Alchemy of Autumn

If you were hanging about Little Wanderings this time last year, or happen to follow me on Instagram – you probably have an inkling that I have a certain fondness for Autumn. It is, without question, my favourite time of year. It feels magic. The reds and golds that blaze through the trees signal a seasonal alchemy that sets my little creative soul alight. 

Little Wanderings - The Alchemy of Autumn 1

Autumn means beautiful, brilliant change. I am so lifted and inspired by this season. Almost too much so! I find myself almost overwhelmed by creative desire at the moment. I want to write. I want to scrapbook all my travel photos. I want to learn how to paint in watercolour. I want to bake delicious new things that make my house smell divine and then curl up on the couch and devour a good book. 

I’m reminded of something that Isobelle Carmody – my favourite author, who I’m lucky enough to have heard speak several times – mentioned during one of her events at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival last year. She said that she sees her creative life as a kind of tapestry. This tapestry is woven with many different creative threads, and she approaches her work by simply pulling on whichever thread will be the most fruitful at the time. This idea really resonated with me, though I think I’m yet to truly develop the intuition – or perhaps discipline – to reach out and run with my own most-fruitful threads. This current burst of Autumnal inspiration has made me realise it’s something I need to work on.

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And follows another piece of Carmody wisdom I seized during the same talk: that there is a time for creative input, and there is a time for creative output. I’d just come back from Europe when I attended this event and was feeling stupidly guilty for not having blogged whilst travelling. This input/output notion hit a nerve, and I brought it up later with Isobelle when I got to the front of the signing line. She urged me not to feel guilty; instead I must surrender to those input periods (in this instance, travelling) in order to truly take everything in – so that later, when the time does come for output, I am truly primed to draw on that experience during the creative process.

Autumn is one grand, tangible transition – and right now I get the feeling that it’s also a transition from a high-input period to a high-output period for me. It does make a natural kind of sense, I suppose. The cooler weather is certainly more conducive to days inside tinkering on little projects than the adventuresome call of summer sunshine. It feels like a kind of reverse hibernation, and I’m excited to wake up and see what I can create. x

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