Photos – and Virginia Baily

Amongst the lovely places on earth to host a literary festival the Theatre by the Lake –  (Derwentwater) in Keswick @tbtlake takes some beating. What we’ve shared of this year’s Ways with Words (brochure) has been perfectly superb.

There’s a person and a process, a “heart behind the art”, that I frequently find as engaging and fascinating as the work itself. That’s why reading the work of people we’ve encountered in person – no matter how briefly, no matter the context of the encounter – always has a special edge to it.

Today we bowled along expectantly to hear Virginia Baily

Turning Ideas into Stories

A trumpet, a golden ring and a steamy jazz club
in 1950s Rome: co-editor of the short story journal
Riptide, Virginia Baily uncovers the objects, music,
images and places that informed and inspired her
second novel ‘Early One Morning’ and discusses the
transformative elements that can turn ideas into

from Ways with Words (brochure)

And of course we bought the book! But now for the confession: haven’t begun to read it yet. Thus far, anyway, we can’t get past the gorgeous front cover!

Sometimes she used a photograph, Virginia told us, and she’d stare at it for a long, long time until the stories contained in it began to take root, to take shape. We were transported to Rome with Star Trek immediacy.

For a lover of the “poetry” in images, from the great artworks of the Masters, to careful photographic studies of our garden flowers, to iPhone snapshots, this was an Alleluia moment! Ah for the fruits of gazing upon something or someone for a long, long time.

Virginia’s talk progressed and the storylines, the process, the literary techniques were generously shared, appreciated and noted. One could hear everyone present mentally signing up for the “Early One Morning Tour”, shepherded by the author through golden streets (and golden fresh-baked pizza) of Rome some sunny day soon – the sooner the better.

We were captivated by quiet and emotionally involved account of the novel’s genesis, busting to buy the book, sit next to coffee-pot and stove and just dive in. But at that point we hadn’t reckoned with the front cover photo of the hardback book being one of the most exquisite imaginable. To place the book in one’s lap and gaze upon this golden image for a long, long time cannot be other than the most splendid preparation for immersion in the chapters within.

So, even before we’ve progressed beyond the cover we know that this author has succeeded in Turning Ideas into Stories and that hers will merge with ours – yours and mine. That’s art. That – is – art.

Thank you. See you in Rome Virginia!

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