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RJ Askew

'I would recommend this book if you like literature that makes you think' - reads the most recent review of 'One Swift Summer'. 

But not all readers want to think and many never stray from the comfort of their chosen genre.

Still, read and let read. And, to be fair, even the direst trilogy-of-trilogies fantasy trounces the fare on our Twitter and Facebook feeds

That said, perhaps your average ebook genre story is reminiscent of an own brand supermarket pizza. Food of a kind. Just don't read the labelling.

Our ability to think sets humanity apart and defines who and how we are as individuals. It's astonishingly beautiful - when you think about it.

So too is reading, especially when we grapple with a demanding title that stretches our intellectual and emotional responses in new and nourishing ways.

'My blog is in the oven' - see archive - is a recipe for your reading pleasure. Perhaps we are what we read. If so, may you relish my watercress bake and piquant poetry sorbet.

Friday Blog

Kew to Westminster - the five o'clock boat

ST ALBANS, March 27 – Click. Kew Bridge, one spring afternoon, 2014. I’d been taking photographs in The Royal Botanic Gardens in search of inspiration for a book cover. I knew I’d not found what I was looking for. I’m no photographer. And my camera was a basic silver compact.

Kew Bridge a short bee flight to the botanic gardens.

Still, the return journey down river became a spangled trance of mind. Time to think things through. My story was going nowhere. So what? I was on a river, gliding along on a small boat with time to think. Perhaps stories are bridges in the mind.

3 Open Reach

You surrender to the moment, the mood of the place, the gentle motion of the boat and your own life as you oxbow along. It’s easy to forget that just beyond those trees is a city of nine million souls. Busy, busy. But not here, not on this boat, not this afternoon – cruising along on this soul of soft-flowing water.

It’s some ten miles from the filigree wrought-iron glasshouses of Kew Gardens, to the Palace of Westminster with its green and red benches for commons and Lords. A theme continued in the bridges, Westminster Bridge being green, Lambeth Bridge being red.

But for now we are close to Chelsea Harbour. There’s something exquisitely pleasing in the arch of the Victorian railway bridge below, a simple artistry, an elegant story. Click.

7 Nameless railyway bridge SC05565

Albert Bridge looks almost coy when seen through the arch of Battersea Bridge with its golden livery – a sight which reflects perfectly the power of the magnates securely ensconced in their mansions to the north. A story through a story.

10 version 3

A satisfyingly golden site for Chelsea's billionaires.

Albert Bridge in its turn frames Chelsea Bridge. But first there follows an aficionado’s view of some steam-punk riveting. And then – click – the railway bridge that thinks it’s a fairytale swan. Yes, there’s a beauty in bridges. From mind to next. From heart to heart. From soul to soul.

Chelsea Bridge, framed in a span of Albert Bridge.

14 Rivetting

And so to the bridge that would be a swan - Grosvenor Bridge.

Click. Bridges thick and  fast. Next up is Vauxhall Bridge, with MI6 to the south and Tate Britain to the north. Each a store stories, living and breathing, here and now.

Vauxhall with Lambeth Bridge just beyond, almost back.

Lambeth Bridge with Westminster Bridge beyond.

People! Readers! - Erm, excuse me up there, care to read 'One Swift Summer'?

And always there is the river. The greatest power in all this. Our inspiration. Our subconscious from which all flows, from which we raise up our little dreams into piers of words, spans and carriages of meaning. We look down into the waters and dream our dreams. And then look up as we glide beneath, a story raised up, a bridge of words, from mind to mind, from heart to heart, from soul to soul. To see how it is, to feel its presence.

Damn, another failed sales peach.

Borne along on a river of dreams, we think of our story and how it will be, whether it will ever prove its worth in the mind and the heart and soul of a reader. Or whether it will be a bridge from nowhere to…

Blackfriars Bridge and the biz.

And so to the tale of the swivel-eyed loon fish who swam from the depths and into the realm of shape-shifting winners, where the best-selling story is money.

Care for a story?