That’s the old year away, and 2011 started. What’s to come? Well, some things are predictable, scheduled even, but I’m sure there will be surprises ahead, good and bad. Let’s start with the schedule: I’ve got three visits to the State Hospital at Carstairs coming up, one each in January, February and March. The patients are due to move into new residential units in the summer, so we’ve agreed I will do the workshops on themes associated with ‘change’, its negative, positive and neutral aspects. In talking to Tessa Ransford recently she mentioned the poet Rayne MacKinnon (1937-2002), who was a patient in Carstairs for several years. I’ve borrowed his book, The Blasting of Billy P, from the Scottish Poetry Library, and I want to read a section of the poem with current Carstairs patients, because it reflects the differences in the care and treatment of severe mental illness over the years.
Another definite event is the StAnza Festival in March. Although I’m no longer on the Board of the Festival, I’m still a staunch supporter – always will be – and this year’s line-up looks exciting. I’m looking to renew my acquaintance with two Georgian poets and the Lithuanian poet Lidiya Šimkute, whom I met in Lithuania in 2007, and I’ll be attending several other events. Tickets will be going on sale very shortly, and I hope I can get tickets for several. I’ll be staying for the whole Festival, and no doubt I’ll meet up with several bloggers and blog followers there.
The publishing schedule is firming up, with Lyn Moir’s ‘Velasquez’ collection first, and the others later in the year. I’ve got a ‘January Sale launched on the website, and I’ll be tweaking the site itself during the year, adding sound recordings of readings and other features. No foreign holiday this year – we’re staying in the UK. Probably self-catering in North Uist, plus a bit of travelling around some of the bits of England that Jane hasn’t visited.
On the writing side, I’m going to be building my 2012 collection for Red Squirrel Scotland. I don’t know at the moment what kind of collection it’s going to be, and I really must start thinking about that soon.
It looks like 2011 will be as busy as 2010 was. Happy New Year to everyone.