Beware of the Librocubicuralist

That’s an unnecessarily long word, a bit of a tongue-twister, so what does it mean?

It’s a personal thing. These days, I may describe myself as my partner’s significant other, but I’m also a librocubicuralist. It’s not an either/or situation; I can be both, because the definition of the word is ‘someone who reads in bed’. Though how I’m going to introduce that nugget into my novel is anyone’s guess. I’ll have to file it with runcible, hirsute and discombobulate until a suitable occasion presents itself.

But I digress…..This post was supposed to be about A Literary Ramble.

We were out and about at the weekend, enjoying the glorious spring sunshine. We headed out across the water meadows towards an old windmill, compete with sails. It’s a Victorian construction, built to drain water through the sluices and into the dykes that criss-cross this low-lying area. The landscape itself is reminiscent of the fluid fenlands of East Anglia described so accurately by Graham Swift in Waterland, a book I absolutely loved on the first reading and couldn’t remember why on the second.

There’s a sense of Dickens in the marshes and reed beds close to the river – the opening chapter of Great Expectations is full of the atmosphere of the marshes; the mud, the water, the big, uninterrupted skies.

Close up, the wooden windmill stands gaunt against the sky, a stark evocation of another writer’s work – PD James set several of her crime novels in East Anglia. The landscape almost becomes a character in itself. James had this to say about her choice of location:

“East Anglia has a particular attraction for detective novelists; the remoteness of the east coast, the dangerous encroaching North Sea, the bird-loud marshes, the emptiness, the great skies, the magnificent churches and the sense of being in a place alien, mysterious and slightly sinister, where it is possible to stand under friable cliffs eaten away by the tides of centuries and imagine that we hear the bells of ancient churches buried under the sea.”

from Talking About Detective Fiction.

Personally, I think East Anglia is such a good choice as a crime location because we are so deep into the countryside with its wide open skies and (mostly) flat landscape that we are well beyond the reach of technology.  8mg broadband? Do me a favour. We’re completely off the grid hereabouts. Which is very good for the plot – the girl being hotly pursued by an assailant won’t have access to a mobile phone signal round here. Just make sure you explain that little subtlety early on.

Towards the end of our walk we turn away from the river and head up the hill – yes, the hill, in this famously flat Norfolk countryside, and through the woods that are just beginning to show the promise the new year. In the distance, hidden by the trees, we can hear the screams of unseen children. Swallows and Amazons, or Lord of the Flies?

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2 thoughts on “Beware of the Librocubicuralist

  1. I came across it in a quiz in an old writing magazine. Your husband will marvel at your verbosity and probably think you’ve swallowed a thesaurus, but hopefully he won’t be offended! 🙂

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