Alongside these vibrant colours, however, there's also shade and texture in the palette of greens, silks and succulents of new-burst leaves and emerging buds.
A bit like writing, really. There's the blaze of an idea that you just want to burn onto the page before it dims. Then you watch the fire settle and add/change colour, texture and tone.
Currently BOOKMARK - www.bookmarkblair.com - has the delightful Joan Lennon as our writer in residence for a six month period in the run up to the festival. She's started posting writing prompts on the festival blog on a Friday to be completed by the following Wednesday. Great fun and so exciting when you surprise yourself by coming up with an idea or an angle which you'd never previously considered. Everyone should have a go!
Yesterday was the deadline for applications to the Scottish Book Trust for the '2014 Next Chapter' award which is specifically aimed at writers over 40. Just made it and no more! Anyway, the chosen applicant gets to spend time with a mentor in the beautiful setting of Moniack Mhor where I'd just love to be right now.
This month's reading has ranged from a Neil Gaiman children's fantasy called 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' to Maggie O'Farrel's 'Instructions for a Heatwave'. Both proved to be fascinating in their different ways. Neil Gaiman is such an original writer whose creation of the world at the end of the lane oscillates between childhood memory and fantasy. Returning as an adult to a once familiar childhood landscape and prompted by Old Mrs Hempstock. a magical old lady, he finds himself drawn into memories of the past which hover on a string-thin borderline between fantasy and reality. 'Lyrical, scary and beautiful . . . a fantasy rooted in the darkest corners of reality.' - Independent on Sunday.
Maggie O' Farrell is a favourite author of mine. I love the way she gets into the back of her characters' heads and gives the reader teasing glimpses of what makes them tick. 'Instructions for a Heatwave' explores the emotional layers of one family's dynamics when they are forced to come together to investigate the sudden disappearance of their father. Tautly written, it gives the reader a compelling insight into the consequences of unspoken histories.
Off to the greenhouse to ensure my summer garden will glow with colour, light and texture.