small stones

July 11th, 2008

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Fiona Robyn, author of small stones: a year of moments, on her blogging book tour.

Fionarobyn Fiona is a writer and blogger living in the UK with her partner, her cats Fatty and Silver, and her vegetable patch. Her new book, small stones, is based on the daily writing practice she's kept at her blog, a small stone, where she captures an ordinary/extraordinary moment from each day.

I can certainly relate to Fiona's need to have a daily creative practice and I love the way she captures these little treasures from her everyday moments. It's exactly this sort of thing that I've become more aware of in my own practice of being creative every day. Here are some questions that I put to Fiona about her book and writing practice:

L: How has writing these small stones daily changed you?

F: One important 'by-product' is that my commitment to small stone reminds me every day how important writing is to me.  Even if I don't touch my novel or work on any poems, at least I string 7 words together. I also hope that that the practice of noticing stones makes me more mindful, which I typed before I read your next question ; )

L: Do you think the practice has made you more mindful?

F: Yes!  For me, being mindful is easier said than done.  Again, at least I manage a moment of mindfulness a day, when I'm thinking about what I'm seeing or experiencing and translating that into words for my stones.

L: Are you continuing on with this project or have you moved on to other things?

F: continues daily.  I did take a break a while ago, but I found myself missing the practice and so started again.  Who knows how long it will continue?

L: The moments in your book have such a quiet, peaceful feel to them. They make me think of small meditations. Do you have a meditation practice?

F: I do have an intermittent meditation practice of 20 minutes in the morning, first thing - before I can come up with any excuses!  I got interested in Buddhism and then more specifically Soto Zen a few years ago, and have done a lot of reading - Shunryu Suzuki is particularly important to me, and Natalie Goldberg's writings.

L: Have your small stones ever led to longer poems or stories?

F: I don't think they have - they appear as a 'snapshot', and poems usually come from an idea which is a little more substantial - maybe a whole scene, or two things that become linked together in my mind.  My fiction always comes from the central character of the book who 'turns up' in my head, and then waits for me to write down their story.  Us writers can be a little crazy - maybe we need to be!

Thanks so much, Fiona. I enjoyed reading your book and found your words to be a peaceful balm at the end of the day. If you're interested in picking up a copy of Fiona's book you can now find it at Amazon in the U.S. and Amazon in the U.K.

Coversmallstone_2 Here are some of my favorite stones from her book:

Pushing water behind me
my muscles (who didn't
know they were tight) let go.
And let go. And let go.

He doesn't like cats because they never do what you tell
them to do. I like cats because they never do what you tell
them to do.

the moon is so transparent you could slip a thumb-nail
under the edge and peel it from the sky

I wasn't paying attention when I pegged out the clothes, but
now it looks like someone spent hours deciding what should
go where: chocolate brown, jade green, navy blue, jade
green, aquamarine, pale green, chocolate

I have something to tell you:
while it was raining, the sun rose

blackbird on bare branches, his beak a chip of flame

9 Responses

What a glorious way for a writer to blog! It’s like little quotes of wisdom! Love it!

What an excellent idea-finding one extraordinary occurrence or object a day to appreciate. Not only is it creative, it can be very theraputic and rewarding. Cheers!

I love the concept of the small daily quotes – mindfullness at its best. I’ve been reading this blog for awhile and enjoy it. Sometimes it reminds me of what I might otherwise overlook in my day.

Hi iHanna, Bobbypin Bandit, Rebecca. Thank you for your comments – and thank you to Leah for having me. I really enjoyed our ‘conversation’, and it’s always interesting to hear which ’stones’ strike different people – they’re always different ones! Warmest, Fiona

I love your Stones, Fiona. They are so poetic and still and beautiful. Thank you for sharing them.

When I read this, I realized that I have been doing this too, but I call them my “happies,” and they are much more prosaic. I started doing them on, along with a bunch of other people looking to write down 3 things every day that made them happy. I found them to be such a wonderful way to document my life that I started blogging them, too.

And the help that they have given my heart is immeasurable.

Thanks for this wonderful interview! I think I’ll just have to get the book :-) Moments are what life is made up.

Hi Rowena – I agree – it’s the process of noticing and then writing things down that feels so useful to me. Do you know about the UK blogger Clare Grant at Am wondering if this is where you got the idea or if it arose spontaneously in both of you!
Chantal – thank you – and I agree, you should definitely get the book! Or even better, get someone to buy it for you… as you say – what else do we have but moments as they pass?

Beautiful! I loved the quotes of her writing. Fiona has a way with words.

Fiona is becoming such a source of daily inspiration, encouragement and friendship! What a wonderful person. I’ve been reading her small stones book now for a few days and feel incredibly more in touch with the beauty of the small things around me!

XOXO to you all! Thank you Leah, for posting this fabulous post!

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