A great title brought to you by my pal storyteller Ken Johnston, who coined it for the Scriptorium launch. One of those strange words which conjures up all kinds of giddiness! We Angus Writers are, if not exactly giddy, very excited to be starting on a bold new venture- a month-long Angus Writers’ Circle Residency at the New Scriptorium based in the grounds of Arbroath Abbey. What a wonderful, inspirational setting! The Scriptorium has been designed by artist Bobby Niven and commemorates the acclaimed work of the Benedictine monks who once copied and illuminated world-renowned manuscripts on this very site. The project has been made possible by Hospitalfield, Historic Environment Scotland, the 2020+1 committee and many more.
It was a real privilege to be there this week with my writing buddies Dawn, Elizabeth and Gillian. We had coffee and flapjacks to add to the creative vibe and it was interesting to imagine what life might have been like for the Benedictine brothers in their scriptorium of old. One of the interpretive boards at the Abbey describes the ‘architecture of solitude’, a cloistered existence which would be alien to modern-day writers. We are free to listen to a playlist, eat biscuits, surf the ‘net. Maybe we even enjoy the constant backdrop of traffic noise and hubbub of voices. Life must have been very different for those who had taken vows of poverty and silence, working under a strict regime, with no distractions. Perhaps that’s the secret of producing such gorgeous, transcendental art!