Where was I? Oh yes, being very busy. Well, I’m pleased to see I’ve got a quieter spell ahead, time to catch up on reading and writing.
The River Crossings project at Haddington’s Peter Potter Gallery was great fun. I was working with ceramic artist Lorraine Robson on our part of the project, and she was full of ideas and encouragement – a joy to work with. We took the participants on a short walk along the Tyne, looking for bugs, leaves, plants, birds and bridges. Then we came back to the Gallery to write poems and make drawings, which we shaped to reflect the things we saw. Lorraine photographed our work and took it away to Dundee for laser-etching. This is one of my poems. They’ll be geo-cached along the river later.
In Elgin I took part in the Moray Feelgood Festival, doing two workshops on mental wellbeing. They were incredibly powerful. In Huntly I led a renga with the Huntly Writers. I decided to do a 12-verse poem in the season of autumn, with verses which moved through the seasons, but included subjects related to the agricultural background of the area. The participants ‘got’ the renga format very quickly, and it was lovely to find how often the poets were on the same wavelength.
In Glasgow I took part in the Split Screen event at St Mungo’s Mirrorball. It was great fun to get back into the Yoda role, and I greatly enjoyed reading Alan Buckley’s poem on Walmington-On-Sea. I’m doing another Split Screen event in Newcastle in November.
Then last weekend I was in Gatehouse of Fleet with Sally Evans, doing readings on the Saturday night, and workshops on the Sunday morning. It was a great pleasure to read to a lovely audience in the Bakehouse, and the workshops, judging by feedback, were successful.
Next weekend it’s the Lennoxlove Book Festival, and I’m working backstage in the Hamilton Marquee, with a variety of authors and subjects. The children’s programme looks great this year, and most of that takes place in ‘my’ venue.
In between times I’m typesetting Stephen Barnaby’s illustrated collection of 50-word stories – Self-Loathing Ostrich Tragedy, and other stories. It’s clever, funny, and a bit of a challenge for a publisher (Calder Wood Press). I’m aiming to have it available for the Christmas Pamphlet Fair.