Saturday, March 28, 2015

March Memories

In 2011, I spent the month of March at Moniack Mhor as the Jessie Kesson Fellow.  It was astonishingly inspiring, and March will always have a flavour for me now of that time, of the views from every window, the red kites and the new lambs, the snow and the mist and the sun.  And the way the words came.  Heaven on a hill.

The next time I'm back at Moniack Mhor is as one of the tutors for the Writing for Children and Young People course - 13-18 July - with Melvin Burgess, and Anne Fine as the mid-week guest.  It's booking up, so if you were thinking of joining us, here's where you sign up!  

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Voy in Colour

Last week I showed you the line drawing, and here it is in colour -

artist: Thomas Heitler
(click to see it bigger)

(Work on the website continues apace - more news to follow.)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Characters from Silver Skin

Starting to collect pictures for the Art section of the soon-to-be Silver Skin website - I'm hoping to have images from readers in that bit.  (So handy having an artist living in the house, to get the ball rolling!  Who, knowing what is good for him, has read the book.)  And I'm down to Edinburgh this weekend to meet up with my website builder, who bears a remarkable resemblance to another son of mine.  But it's not nepotism.  Not exactly.  They'd have to be my nephews* for that ...

This is Voy - 

artist: Thomas Heitler
(line drawing - coloured version to follow)
(click to see it bigger)

*For, as Wikipedia tells us:
"The term comes from Italian word nepotismo which is based on Latin root nepos meaning nephew.  Since the Middle Ages and until the late 17th century, some Catholic popes and bishops, who had taken vows of chastity, and therefore usually had no legitimate offspring of their own, gave their nephews such positions of preference as were often accorded by fathers to son."

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Raul - Great, Crazy Person

It's a bit grey here today and my eyes have crossed from a whole lot of proof-reading and so, for me and, if you feel the need, for you, I prescribe a little Raul ...

You might want to click on the full screen icon on the right there.  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

An Outing for Silver Skin

It seemed like such a good idea at the time - bring the proof copy of Silver Skin to the National Museum of Scotland and take some amazing photographs of it with the carved stones from Skara Brae.  I imagined something with reflections in the glass and a ghostly image of me in there somewhere looking, well, ghostly.  Turns out neither the lighting nor my camera were up to the job.  The gallery that has the Skara Brae stones is beautiful, wonderful, atmospheric - and dark.  Maybe with a tripod and a shedload more know-how than I have, something could have been achieved, but as it was ... not so much.  

So I had a bash at balancing the book on the Paolozzi exhibition cases in the outer area, and there, as you can see, it was too bright!  (That's my excuse ...)   

Never mind - for a first book-and-camera outing it was at least fun. And that's a bracelet from Skara Brae, anyway! 

Now where should I try next ...? 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday I was over on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure, talking about some of the difficult decisions writers face when they have to go out into the world.  I called it Problems of Presentation and it's a issue of nightmare proportions for people who mostly live in pjs, slippers and inside their heads.

So today I though I'd like to celebrate that last bit - the living inside your head bit - 

Food for thought, eh?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Until only the mountain remains - writing inspired by Christopher Orr

Last week I read at an event in the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh.  The exhibition was called The Beguiled Eye and the artist was Christopher Orr.  (There's a short Vimeo video about Christopher here - an interesting guy.)  There was an open call for written responses and this was mine -

Darkness Visible painted by Christopher Orr (2006)

Looking at
you looking at
the stance says it all 
that slight leaning forward
the way your front foot begins to slide
the way the stripes creep over your shoulders
ready to head past your head 
all strangely quiet
not a sucking sound to be heard
or are there no other senses left?
just sight
just watching
the disappearing of light
the patient symmetry of the circle

looking at
you looking at
me tourist to you
who are tourist to
the road to hell's
black hole
not noticing
the traffic is one way

me noticing
you not noticing
me not noticing
the gravity of our situation.

There's a website or the written responses now called Until Only the Mountain Remains *- and here's an entirely unbiased recommendation - The Caretaker ** by writer son Callum Heitler.  Not to mention his story The Man Who Made the Weather which can be found in New Writing Dundee 8, out now.  He gave a reading at the launch last week (reported on STV).  All in all, pretty good going for our house!

* which is a quote from a poem by Li Bai (701-762) - I had to look it up, but I'm glad I did -

The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

** inspired by this painting: