2019 February 7th
A meeting with the contact group for the Ward Identities project for the new East Lothian Community Hospital. In the afternoon a tour of Herdmanflat Hospital, which was fascinating.
Then to Edinburgh for the launch of Catherine Simpson’s memoir – When I had a little sister. She’s an exceptional writer. Lots of friends at the gig, and it was standing room only.
2019 February 5th
By now I had finished reading all 103 stories submitted for the Postbox magazine, and I had made my choice of stories. Sheila Wakefield had given me a word limit for the publication, and this gave me the limit for the number of stories in the inaugural issue. It’s fifteen.
Went to Inky Fingers gig at The Lighthouse bookshop. It’s a monthly open mic mic night, and the headliner was Hannah Lavery, CoastWord’s Director. She’s a brilliant poet, and I enjoyed her performance. Also, in the Pear Tree afterwards for an alcohol-free lager, I met Charlie Roy, our new PR and Media person.
In a previous incarnation, the Pear Tree was where our eldest son had his wedding reception, 25 years ago.
2019 February 2nd
To Edinburgh, for the launch of new publications by Anne Connolly, Jon Plunkett and Edwin Stockdale.
Edwin’s poetry is biographical, usually about historical figures, and almost always women. His language is evocative and beautiful, and he reads really well. I thoroughly enjoyed his set.
I hadn’t heard Jon’s poetry before. It’s energetic, direct, forceful, and he performs it from memory. He was very impressive.
Anne’s been one of my friends since, I think, the late 1990s. She and I were regular attenders at meetings of the School of Poets in the Scottish Poetry Library. I published her first pamphlet, Downside Up, which showed off her considerable talents. She’s had collections published by Stewed Rhubarb and by Red Squirrel, and Sheila Wakefield had asked me to edit this collection for her, given that we’d been friends for so long, plus the MS contained some science-inspired poems. It was lovely to hear the poems read in that musical Irish voice.
All three collections are available from the Red Squirrel Press website.
2019 January 31st
Closing date for submissions for the Postbox Press short story magazine. As usual, a last-minute flurry of entries. I started reading them, and putting them into three categories – Yes, No and Maybe. The Yesses are relatively small in number, the Noes slightly more, but I have a lot of Maybes. Further sifting will have to be done.
2019 January 30th
To Edinburgh with my Linlithgow friends, for a visit to Gladstone’s Land, which I had never previously visited. Very interesting, and a really professional tour guide. Afterwards to lunch – overpriced and not as special as it made itself out to be.
2019 January 29th
To Eyemouth for a meeting of the Eyemouth Writers group.