It's always interesting to see the google searches that have brought people to this blog. Apart from the obvious ones, like 'The Sound of Butterflies', one of the most common is 'what do butterflies sound like?' A couple of people have googled the expression "let the air in" after my recent post about taking the time to think about my work without agonising over getting words on the screen. One even asked 'What does letting the air in mean?' Strangely enough, the search results bring up my post as the number one entry. So I just want to clarify some things. I actually got the expression from an Ernest Hemingway story, but I have absorbed it and used it to mean something totally different. Consciously. Hemingway used it in (his extraordinary story) "Hills Like White Elephants" when a young man explains to his girlfriend, who he has pressured into having an abortion, that "they just let the air in". So in that way, it's not a nice expression for me to use, but when I was looking for words to describe what I was doing, well, letting in some air seemed the most apt description: opening my mind as I might a window on a stuffy day. So anyone googling the expression: I stole it and gave it a new meaning. I'm afraid you'll find no insight into Hemingway's mind here.
The Sound of Butterflies was the title of my first novel, published in the UK by Picador, in the US by William Morrow and in New Zealand by Random House, and translated into eight foreign languages. In 2009 my next novel, Magpie Hall, was published in New Zealand by Random House, and in 2012 my first novel for children, Red Rocks. This blog is my thoughts on the world of writing and books.
Photo by Sharon Blance.