I was chuffed to be invited to read from a short story at the launch of the new digital journal 50GS (give it a read here – it’s a thing of beauty). It was utterly surreal to be reading a story at my alma mater. Halfway through the extract (from “Sugar Cake Trail”) I realised …
Ardie says, “Yeah, but have you written any reviews on your blog?” I say, “No, but I can start.” Kirsty Logan’s The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales was as beautiful and strange as it was memorable. I am still often haunted by the image of a woman sucking a lightbulb like a sweet, or a heart …
Originally published as part of Scottish Book Trust‘s Journeys project. Read it on their website here. 2. Pushing a chair on the blue lino floor of the kitchen, learning how to walk. 6. Walking to the school gate in the cold tiled hallway looking for milk with my name on it. 7. Pushing a metal …
Just over a week ago, I got a chance to tell a story out loud to an audience at this event as part of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2014. Not a made-up story, a real story.
I rarely write down what happens to me. Well, that’s a lie, I’ve kept a journal for over ten years, on and off, but I’ve never written down my own experiences for others to look at.
Throughout my life as a student, I was lucky to have had some amazing teachers. A few weeks ago, I got to teach for the first time. It was super scary, and also really great. This is a blog post about what I did during my lesson, and how I got there. It comes to you in two parts: The Lesson (where I go through what we actually did during the 75 minutes), and The Plan (where I discuss how the lesson came to be).
Disclaimer: I am not a qualified teacher. The two exercises mentioned here were appropriated from two lessons I was taught during my MSc in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh.
This morning, I went for a run. I did some long division and paper calculations afterwards, and it turns out that I ran at an average speed of 3.4 mph, which my running app doesn’t even classify as running. “Are you sure you didn’t walk?” it winks. Yes, I am, thankyouverymuch.
A very misleading introduction. Obviously, in the spirit of Murakami, I am not actually talking about running. I want to talk about sprinting when you write.
I have trained myself to produce a lot of words in not a lot of time. My fingers know how to type quickly, pretty much of their own accord, with little input from my brain. With four NaNoWriMos under my belt, I’m a trained sprinter. It’s the only way I know how; throw down lots of words and then painstakingly sieve through them to find the good ones. Efficient? Not really. The first draft gets done in a hurry, but working for quantity rather than quality also means having to discard large chunks of the initial draft in editing mode. But sprinting gets the words out, and it works for me.
Home is waking up knowing where I am, with a sore throat because I left the window open over night. I pull my heavy limbs together and into the kitchen to scavenge for food in the drawers that are neatly organised and never empty. I wave at my Gran through the window. My sister’s handiwork, pink raspberry syrup, poured into a glass and mixed with water. Dad‘s paper is on the table and I turn it over to read the opinion pieces, so I know what to think. After breakfast I play the piano because I know Mum will like it.
There are other things I remember, about other homes.