Kick back. Take a deep breath. It’s Q&A time
July really is here. Welcome to Crooked Cat’s Cy Forrest, answering questions about his new Facebook page from his studio in a rural village just south of Bath. His major new novel The Punished is due out in September 13. Join in the Facebook launch event.
What will this new Facebook page provide for your followers that the last ones didn’t?
Unlike my previous Facebook pages, The Punished: Crooked Cat’s Cy Forrest Q&A will be about my approach to work and lifestyle and how the two interact. My work is very intense at the moment and I’m always taking new directions. I don’t want to leave my followers in the dark. So, I’m taking control of my social media presence with a page that give my followers more insight into how my work is developing.
What is your approach to work and lifestyle, Cy?
It’s not at all complex. It’s all basic seat-of-the-pants stuff. I’m immersed in my work at all times and I’m always confident I’ve done my best. I’m single-minded and I never sit on the fence about decisions I have to make and what I have to do. It also means I share issues that are important to me. I’ve always done that and nothing’s going to change that relationship with my followers.
You’ll be sharing issues such as?
I’m an intensely creative person and my work often features people who struggle against the odds. The issues I share with my followers are about privacy, surveillance, freedom of information, keeping the fox-hunting ban, the right to roam, education, welfare and the environment. I’m being purely selfish here because I live in the south-west of England and each one of these issues shapes the landscape I work and play in, and that feeds into my work.
Can you give an example how that feeds in, Cy?
I need to recharge the creative battery acid regularly due to the intense focus I operate under all the time. I need to spend time focusing on the horizon to change that focus, so I head for the wide-open spaces. Living in the south-west gives me plenty of opportunity, but that opportunity is not something I take for granted.
Why don’t you take the wide-open spaces for granted?
When I reach a forest that was formerly owned by the forestry commission and it’s now guarded by ten foot high fences, I keep out naturally. But my creative juices are always alive to the endless possibilities. It’s a natural response to work and play. Play helps me to fully be myself. I like to bask in sunsets and blue skies. I do waterfalls and mountain tops. I don’t do Keep Out signs. I’m not advocating the mass trespasses of the 1930s, but the right to roam in privately owned land was won after a hard fight.
Can you explain the problem with warnings, limits and borders?
I often roam the Cornish coast path where the cliffs are high and the mine shafts are unknown and uncharted. That’s part of the lure of the place. Shiny new landowner’s signs with legal warnings rejecting all responsibility for accidents on their land are a constant reminder that I am only a visitor. There I was believing I was free from everyday burdens. I’d much rather see the old signs return that say Cream Teas This Way.
Why are wide-open space so important?
What might happen in the wide open spaces is that people might actually discover that they are alive. You only get out of life what you put in. This is why the right to roam is so important to creative people like me because it hasn’t always been this way. It’s not always been possible to get out what you put in.
Photography Caroline Toomey.