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?
Read all about #52and40 here.
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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Dear Sixty Year Old Me,
Saturday was that day of sliding down a long snake after a clear climb on a few recent ladders.
You felt low afterwards. Low and relieved. Relieved because I wasn’t chosen to read out. Two hours after emailing the intro to my submission to the novel writing workshop I could see holes in it, after all. Huge holes.
Leerdammer through a telescope holes.
Here, forty eight hours later, I dare say I’ll stand up for attempt 654 of trying to birth this goddamn story.
Say you’re laughing?
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