**Usual disclaimer: I am not a non-key worker, so this may be an irritating read for those who are.**
Do I wish the kids were still in school?
Ha! Take a guess.
That said, we are happy with our little weekday timetable, which includes free time all day Wednesday, and Friday afternoon. My oldest shared that they hate not having a written structure for the day, and will even request one at school – who knew?
But by far my favourite half an hour is 9-9:30 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. We all read in the living room. Because of family tinnitus, there’s a CD on in the background, so it’s an opportunity to put on some of those albums that are ignored in favour of Spotify these days.
That peace of three or four people in a room. Just reading.
Next week is Book Week Scotland!
It’s a great chance to get out and about in the writing/reading community. Get inspired, make connections, give yourself an enthusiasm boost as the nights start to draw in.
This year, on Tuesday (21/11/19) I’m at one of my closest libraries: the John Gray Centre in Haddington. Fitting, as our topic is ‘Local Blethers‘! Myself, Rebecca McKinney, and Charlie Laidlaw will be talking inspiration, setting and how our localities feed into our writing. We’ll be blethering from 6pm-7:30pm and the event is free.
On Thursday I’m taking up my new position as co-host of Listen, Softly: Edinburgh. This isn’t just a one-off Book Week visit, I’m joining Claire and Dom to help with programming, sound, and the usual ‘any-other-duties-as-required!’ I’m excited and honoured to be involved in this popular addition to Edinburgh’s spoken word scene.
My favourite thing about 2019 so far is being a fancy Poet-in-Residence.
And, as poet-in-residence of Lanterne Rouge, I would like to invite you all to a night of spoken word, tea, coffee and cake on Saturday 18th May, 7:30pm at the Lanterne Rouge, Gifford. The folks over at Listen Softly have very kindly lent me their brand, and a co-host for the evening, and Cameron has very kindly lent me his café!
We’ll be hearing from young and old(er) poets ranging from 11 years old to 85. Claire Askew, Mary Johnston, Hannah McCooke and Nicki Birrell. There are also three open mic spots: sign up on the night to be in with a chance of reading yourself!
It would be amazing to get a good turnout, so please share this with any friends that might like to come along. See you there?
An update on the writing competition I was asked to judge last year:
it was really exciting to be asked, and I was glad to support SeaMab‘s work. I met with a co-judge, emailed with another. Together, we decided on Winners and Highly Commended entries in the four Sea Changer categories: Free, Joy, Brave, Hope.
I was looking forward to naming the winners here and on Twitter. But some wanted to remain anonymous, and the staff at SeaMab didn’t have time to put out an official announcement of the others. And I absolutely understand that – check out all the work they do!
It was (another) lesson: in writing, in life. Things won’t turn out how you’d hoped, but you can still feel positive about the bits that were super fun! Thanks to SeaMab for entrusting me with the job.
It had been a long time since I had persevered with a book and then, 300 pages in, fell right in, and kept falling.
I spent three days either waiting to get back to my book, or reading my book. I updated social media to let people know I wouldn’t be around. The real world was not as vivid as the one within those 700 pages. When I finished, I was bereft.
I have a lot of ambitions as a writer, but even if I do not fulfill any (more) of them, it will be enough to have been given this gift. How to read. Of course I have always read and loved it, but before I wrote, I wasn’t pushing myself in my book choices. I read to relax.
And I wasn’t aware of what it takes to write a novel.
Book 2 has been delivered and what a difficult ‘birth’ that was!
My central character and crime investigator, Jacques Forêt, delves into the murky world of commercial sabotage for his next case. This is a place where people lie and misrepresent, where information is traded and used as a threat.
In Mende, in south west France, my fictional business, the Vaux Group, are losing contracts and money and Jacques is the go-to man to work through the complex web of the evidence. He finds more than he bargained for and his life is threatened. When the body of a woman is found, it appears to be suicide. But Jacques suspects there is more to it.
Who is behind it all…and why? Will Jacques find the answer before another person ends up dead?
Merle is published on July 5th. Read on…
a fallen leaf,
the hand of a child in mine,
real butter on real bread.
A hot shower,
the feeling of cleanliness,
a crisp, dry towel.
The warmth of a fire after a walk in the wind and rain,
A conversation that winds around us,
a perfect idea
discovered at its heart.
The clarity and space of a day of fasting;
the joy of a day of eating.
and the written word.
Stories and sounds that enter into your soul and reside.
Being able to see the stars.
A harvest moon.
Clean, safe water in every tap in the house.
A door that closes and locks,
but also opens readily
for a welcome.
Friends that are nearby,
friends far away,
family right here,
family over the phone.
Deep, peaceful, healing sleep.