Every month I go over to Eyemouth to meet with a small group of other writers. It’s a ‘no-pressure’ writing group; no exercises, no workshopping, no deep analysis. It’s more a relaxed group of friends than the conventional group, and I like it for that reason. We start with an organ recital – where we talk about our various ailments (we’re of an age when we’ve all got health problems). Then we share bits of our recent writings. They’re usually on any subject we choose, but lately we’ve started suggesting key words, starters, thoughts, for the next meeting. Last month someone suggested ‘ashes’, and, having been overloaded with other things, it wasn’t until 10pm last night that I wrote my piece. I happened to mention on Facebook that I’d done it, and a well-known Scottish poet, teacher and anthologist (there’s a clue there) responded, saying, in effect, that ‘ashes’ were a common metaphor in many of the poems he’d read recently while compiling his anthology. It’s absolutely true – ashes are commonly used metaphorically. There’s a poem in the Mad Yak which starts from a memory of scattering my father’s ashes in his beloved St Fillans, and extends the metaphor, ending up in the Sunderbans (which I’ve not yet visited).
[Poem removed for revision]
The next challenge is to write something for Thursday night’s Dunbar Writers meeting, on the suggested theme – fertility.