My daughter tells me she learned at school there hasn’t been a May as dry as this in Scotland since before I was born in 1976.
It seems we picked a lucky time for digging a new border in the garden and moving plants around to fill it up. It’s become habit, to go out between writing and running about and be amongst plants growing right before my eyes, echoing the kids growing and changing too. This time of the teenager seems the busiest of family life yet – and possibly the most rewarding.
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The hardest bit of writing for me isn’t finding ideas or receiving rejections. Both of those are plentiful for me at this stage. Both of those are great teachers too – to be appreciated and understood just as the nice, easy bits are.
For me, the hardest bit’s waiting for feedback. The no-woman’s land of yay or nay.
The Isle of Maybe.
I’m a feedback junkie – reacting to feedback is my fuel for the next thing.
I guess I need to cultivate a better relationship with my own feedback, for the between bits.
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I grew up thinking I had an un-mathematic brain. Yet as I’ve aged I’ve discovered my brain’s just fine with mathematics. Science too. Whaddya know till you retry?
Viewing an often chaotic world through an organised lens can be comforting. I’ve found maths and science have overlap with understanding human behaviour, too. This week, with help, I’m considering fractals;
‘Fractals are infinitely complex patterns… […] …self-similar across different scales. Driven by recursion, fractals are images of dynamic systems – the pictures of Chaos. Fractal patterns are extremely familiar, since nature is full of fractals.’
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A friend died recently. She was my writing teacher first (and my first writing teacher).
I can trace roads from everything I’ve had published in the last two years to Helen, her guidance at every way-marker. Even with this map I’m disorientated; floundering in comprehending such a special woman being gone.
In grief, all roads lead inevitably to my Mum. Every funeral a little her funeral, too. Profound losses only comforted by the extreme gratitude for having shared some of the world with extraordinary people’s smiles and stories.
Joy and sorrow, innit?
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Our wee extension’s starting soon and early signs say the plants are keen on change this summer too.
We’ve imposed new garden structure by getting rid of the decrepit shed, clearing the Krugeresque brambles and waving cheerio to 9m of mixed hedge which only ever managed to look tortured, despite optimistic pruning.
A winter project which leaked into spring was a new boundary fence. With this came unexpected clarity about divvying up remaining space. Digging awaits.
Clarity’s good in these mad Brexit times (as are friends with doors which make me smile).
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A friend took me to The Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh recently. As an art academic and fellow ardent avoider of bullshit, she’s a joy to exhibition with; nips off at speed, buzzing back intermittently with jewels of information about whatever’s caught my eye; non-plussed about my mistaking statues of all short-haired blokes holding scrolls for another Burns.
As well as my pal, my favourites on the day were Jessica Harrison’s Painted Ladies; the movement in those skirts whisked me back to making an ornament of my Granny’s dance on a windowsill.
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A treasure trail of research lead me to Jessie Kesson and now I can’t believe her name wasn’t always part of my frame of Scots reference.
Jessie was born in 1916 Inverness to a loving single mum who worked as a prostitute and knew challenge intimately. At eight, Jessie was relocated to a children’s home in Aberdeenshire and denied further education because of her background. By the end of her life in 1994, Jessie was a London novelist, playwright and producer of Woman’s Hour.
The bits in-between? She told her stories.
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