35 Comments
Aug 12, 2022Liked by Yasmin Chopin

where? currently the New Forest, but often the Luberon valley in Provence

favourites? Ali Smith and Graham Swift

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Greetings!

Where: A mountain ridge above a gorge in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Brevard, North Carolina, US.

Favorite author: At the moment Robert Macfarlane

Special place: My six acres on the aforementioned mountain ridge. I got a visceral hit in my gut when I stepped out of the car when I first visited with my real estate agent. I truly believe I was "called" here. I hear one of the four waterfalls on the creek in the gorge below 24/7. While the forest has been logged once it still holds power and mystery for me.

Thank you for writing and publishing.

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author

Ah, welcome Marsha! I've read a number of Macfarlane's books, he is such a learned writer. In fact, he lives not far from me here in Cambridgeshire. And I know what you mean about the visceral impact a property can make. It happened to me when I viewed an old barn that needed converting to a house... the hairs stood up on my skin, and I bought it. I look forward to learning more about your 'special place'.

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Hi, I'm David. I live in southwestern Ontario in Canada. My favourite author is an 18th century diarist, the Duc de Croÿ. The place that occupies the largest share of my headspace is Versailles, both the chateau and the town, not to mention the surrounding countryside. I'm intrigued by your concept of place writing, which is new to me. I'll be reading with interest.

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Gosh, David, your subject of interest is indeed fascinating. I've been to the palace of Versailles and love reading about the history. Welcome to Place Writing! I look forward to learning more about your work.

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Where: Yorkshire Dales

Favourite places: other than where I live, west coast of Scotland

Authors: William Boyd, Evelyn Waugh, Amor Towles

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Thanks, Douglas. I think you must love the hills. I live in Cambridgeshire where it's very flat, but I like it especially for big skies we get here. I don't know Amor Towles so I'll do some research!

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Fantastic novelist: A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility - must reads. Doug

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Thanks, Doug. They're now on my reading list.

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Nov 25, 2023Liked by Yasmin Chopin

Rural village in South west France. My avidness to read has been replaced by my obsession to forage for obscure historical cookery manuals. My kitchen. I am a feeder.

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Thank you for your response, Clare. Chasing obscure cookery manuals sounds like a wonderful way to explore a country, and learn its history and customs.

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Sep 1, 2023Liked by Yasmin Chopin

Hello Yasmin, I live in my little corner of Iowa, US. Near corn fields and woods and quiet (tho we do not farm and are transplants originally from New York State). Fav Authors? ONE is Chaim Potok. Getting ready to reread “My Name is Asher Lev”. A fav challenging author is Robert Macfarlane, slow reading to savor.

I am brand new to Substack and still learning my way around. I happened upon you and loved your Liminal piece. It has filled my mind and I look forward to putting words to my thoughts.

We will shortly be visiting London again (cruising the Mediterranean), London being my husbands fav place; we thoroughly enjoyed our trip a few years ago to the Midlands and Wales. My fav place, besides home, is the generational family camp (lake cottage) in Maine.

I did not know there was such a thing as place writing. But it resonates w me and it shows -- back when I used to write long letters, I always opened w the place. It might’ve been just a common space in my home, but I’d describe it. The slant of light, noise & activity nearby, where I was sitting, if there was a cat lying on my paper, what I was feeling at the moment...then I’d get on to news and latest what-have-you.

I’m glad I found YOUR space. And will revisit regularly, even if to reread content. Thank you. -Karen

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Hi Karen. It's lovely to hear about your favourite places and about your reading. Robert Macfarlane is a wonderful writer - he has encouraged many people to take more notice of the world around them. I appreciate your feedback on what interests you on this Substack because I hope to make it relevant to writers (and readers) from a variety of backgrounds. This is a really welcoming space in which to explore our ideas and it seems like you might be a place writer without realising it! I wish you well with your future plans to travel, and hope to read your writing here as well. Currently, I post on Substack once a month and my September piece will go out tomorrow to subscribers. I look forward to your comments whenever you have time to write a few words. Thanks for your comment here, your quiet life in Iowa sounds rather idyllic.

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Hi Yasmin - I live in Dorset, UK. My favourite writer (at the moment) is Roger Deakin.

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Dorset is such a beautiful county. I visited there as soon as lockdown lifted, spent some time at Kingcombe National Nature Reserve.

And, ah, thanks for mentioning Roger Deakin. A champion writer.

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Glad I've found another Deakin fan and a fan of Kingcombe. I've spent hours and hours wandering the ups and downs (and wet bits) of the reserve. It's one of my favourite Dorset places. Have you read Anita Roy's book "A year in Kingcombe"? Well worth getting, if not.

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1) For a consideration of what factors make a place sacred, see: "UN address - N. Scott Momaday," Wisdom of the Elders, 8-7-11.

2) I live in the USA. My mother's Lawrence family traces back to England. I read mainly news. The best fiction writers are Shakespeare and Thomas Hardy.

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Hi Yasmin, I'm in Surbiton currently, land of the suburbs! Hard to pick a favourite author, but up Bene Brown, Rebecca Solnit and the poet Diane di Prima are definitely on my go-to list. As you know, I'm a walking artist but am now also incorporating writing for well-being into my work, and next year going to train to teach mindfulness. Enjoying your substack and very interested to know more about the interior design! Lucy x

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Thanks for your kind words, Lucy, it's good to hear from you. Writing for well-being is a very worthwhile thing to do. Maybe you'll start a Substack on the subject? I once gave a talk at the London Design Festival about well-being in the office from an interior design perspective ; besides the obvious need for ergonomically sound seating I remember suggesting two colours of particular benefit - green and lilac.

I'm a Surrey girl, born and bred, and Surbiton was not far from my home town near Weybridge, though nowadays, sadly, the whole area is captured in the net-name of Greater London.

I'm thrilled to hear you're enjoying the posts, I'm trying to consider Place Writing from a variety of angles because it's such an interesting and diverse subject yet still very niche. Do comment when you can, and thank you for being part of a growing community.

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Thanks Yasmin - I have actually set up a substack to do exactly that, just a few days ago! www.lucyfurlong.substack.com. Yes, hear you re Greater London... I still put Surrey on my address...even though technically we are 'London'. And - I have just painted my bedroom green and it definitely feels more relaxing.

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Great news. I'll look forward to your posts, Lucy!

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Aug 21, 2022Liked by Yasmin Chopin

Hello all. Thank you for setting up this space Yasmin! I live just outside of Edinburgh, in an old mining village called Newtongrange. It's an area that is being rapidly developed for new housing developments but at the moment there is still access to lots of woodland paths and river walks. It's almost impossible to pick out a favourite author so I'll give a handful! I love Annie Dillard - particularly when she describes the brutality of nature. I also love Robin Wall Kimmerer. In terms of fiction I've recently been enjoying Miriam Toews, Jamaica Kincaid, Sylvia Townsend Warner and Claire Keegan.

A special place is the fields behind my house - there's a beautiful hedgerow, I often see (and hear) larks, and from the top field you can see out to Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh Castle and the Firth of Forth. Where I live is a very suburban, quiet place, and I like to be able to see out! It's a bittersweet experience because the land is due to be developed over the next few years.

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Hi Annie!

Thanks for your author selection; lovely suggestions for some new reading.

And larks! How wonderful. The prospect of the land being developed behind your house must bring many emotions to the fore. I wonder if you're writing about your current experience of that special place, as a way of capturing the ephemeral nature of it.

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Aug 18, 2022Liked by Yasmin Chopin

Hello Yasmin

I'm across the puddle, just outside of Boston and very excited to be able to chat with other place-minded people! I don't really have a favorite author - so many have written such delicious works - although I would have to say that one author who I respect for his prolific creativity and expertise in making the reader feel as though they'e living his words, would be Stephen King. I've only read a few of his books - I can't read more - he's that good that I really don't want to spend more time in his disturbing world!

However, my go-to genre is place writing and some favorites come to mind, Sarah M. Broom (The Yellow House), Nicola Chester (On Gallows Down), Jeff Young (Ghost Town) and Jean Sprackland (These Silent Mansions).

I would have to say where I was born and raised, Willis Farm in Sudbury Massachusetts, has the deepest ties to my heart. I still live on a section of it and it's where I'll stay. I can become attached to many places, though, Cambridge, MA, anywhere in Vermont, Britain and Tuscany. It will be fascinating to explore place writing, place attachment and all its soul-filling wonders with this group.

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Hi Lynn, it's lovely to welcome you here to the Place Writing newsletter! We are becoming an international group, which I am really thrilled about.

I visited Boston many years ago and stayed for a week before travelling down to New York. I remember buying a pair of trainers there because I did so much walking and needed a comfortable pair of shoes. They were expensive at the time but those trainers lasted more than twenty years!

And, I have a confession... I have never read one of Stephen King's thrillers - it's not a genre I am keen on. Although, I do admire his work ethic and have his book, 'On Writing', which I would highly recommend.

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Aug 19, 2022Liked by Yasmin Chopin

Agree. 'On Writing' is incredibly informative and inspirational. Yes, his work ethic is staggering.

Looking forward to the international exchange of perspectives here - exciting!

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Aug 16, 2022Liked by Yasmin Chopin

The Isle of Mull and Iona are two of my favourite places. We go there for a holiday every seven years and it's a great way to mark all that's happened and how we and the things around us have changed in that time.

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Two islands I have yet to explore, Daniel. I like the idea of using place as a marker of time to life's events.

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Hi Yasmin, great newsletter! And thanks for the tip about that online day of the Talking Places conference!

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I'll be attending. Hope to see you there. :-)

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New Zealander in Adelaide.

Placey Authors/books:

Rose Macauley - Towers of Trebizond.

Lawrence Durrell - Reflections on a Marine Venus, Propero’s Cell, Bitter Lemons.

Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises

Tom Cox: Ring the Hill

Place: Coorong, South Australia

Currently doing a place writing series taught by Cal Flyn via the Land Arts Collective

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Hi Merenia, great to hear from you, and welcome! Good to know that you're doing some work with Cal Flyn. You've mentioned a few authors in your list that I'm not familiar with, and that is so useful, thank you. And you have reawakened my interest in Hemingway... I haven't read any of his work for years. There are so many good books out there!

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Aug 12, 2022Liked by Yasmin Chopin

Hi Yasmin

I am pleased to see you looking so well. I will certainly send on details of this newsletter to the writing group. We have missed you, but the groups continues to thrive. Several novels now completed by various members, old and new.

i am intrigued by the current focus on Place - i recently did the WordFactory course on Place Writing in Fiction, and found it very stimulating. is this all the doing of MMet?

bw

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So pleased to hear that the writing group is thriving, and that you have done a course on Place Writing in Fiction. Fantastic! My PhD is with the Centre for Place Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, and I receive a lot of support from the institution, but this newsletter is an independent venture.

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