Complications and Epiphanies

Welcome back to my blog!

Sorry I’ve taken some time to return to regular writing, but the whole pandemic has really had me down in the dumps, and you know how hard it is to be creative when you just feel so, meh.

I know it’s not good to promote going out, but when the cafes opened back up it was like a godsend for my creativity. I got into the habit of settling down with a coffee and my laptop and getting on with my book. My book! The thing I’ve been trying to write for about six years on and off, but would just love to finish. At least get the words out, and leave editing for later. I don’t know if it was the ambient café music and usual aromas, the light chatter around me lifting off some of that pressure, or the coffee itself kicking my brain into gear, but something just clicked.

Without giving too much away, because I don’t really want to spill all my plot points now when everything is still so fluid, I was just sitting there (with an iced coffee for a change, it was a warm day), and had one of those you idiot moments. You just don’t realise when you write in a setting that isn’t present day, how much work goes into making it realistic. What would they use in their hair? To keep their hands moisturised? Natural highlighter, maybe? We don’t know, maybe one day someone will make a movie and undoubtably use some drop-dead gorgeous woman as the protagonist and give her contouring to die for, and I’d like to be able to explain that. Forward thinking never hurt anyone, right?

I was reading this article on Lady Trotula, a French woman who pioneered women’s beauty and health in the 12th Century. The takeaway point I found resonated most was the fact that in that time, makeup was not something pure or respectable women used, rather their attractiveness was based solely on natural looks. So, my protagonist would need to use something easy to obtain, which didn’t appear to alter her natural looks. Ha! That was a challenge. But I ordered another coffee and got to it.

I reached the point thinking I needed a product to reference that we use now, but has a very simple extraction process, and generally only one, two or three easily obtained ingredients. And then I came across Squalane. One ingredient, derived from olive oil. Well, it started off being extracted from sharks, but when one writes a novel she gets a little creative license. This product is a true multitasker, you can use it for you hair as well as your skin, on your lips and your nails, and on dry patches or cracked heels. I know I can’t just make it seem like she uses straight olive oil, so we had to give it a new name, just for my book.

I wanted some part of ‘olive’ in there, but I also love the ‘Squa’ sound. So instead of squalane, she uses squalive. Perfect!

Well, that’s all I have time for today, back to the coffee shop for more writing and more inspiration! Maybe I’ll see you there for a socially distanced wave!

Signing out.