Time for a springtime blog update! The start of the year has been pretty busy so far. I’m just back from the annual Scottish Association Conference, which was such a lot of fun. It was so good to be able to socialise with my Angus Writers’ Circle pals and to meet up with old friends. I’d been invited to adjudicate the Margaret McConnell Women’s short story competition- the entries were amazing and the winners spellbinding (although I just wanted to give them all a prize!).
I also led a workshop on writing about climate change, coincidentally…because as we speak my new climate fiction book WATERBOUND is out on submission and being read by the very person who might well publish it- an exciting and scary thought!
It’s taken me a year to get to this stage, and there were times when I wondered if I’d bitten off more than I could chew. Speculative fiction is ambitious, as you will know if that’s your thing. Could my ideas match my ambition? It was so hard to know how far to go. What will phones be like a century from now? How will we be travelling? Will we be super-sophisticated and technologically advanced or will we be fighting over resources? The Council for Refugees has already predicted that we could be looking at some 25 million souls displaced by climate-related disaster by the end of the century- something that we’ll have to face in a humane and compassionate way.
In the end, I decided that this is a story about family and emotion and the things that matter to us. Human nature remains fundamentally the same, so I decided that as long as that felt authentic, readers would accept my vision of the rest. I hope so anyway!
In February, I was asked by Sustainability First, a charity dedicated to raising awareness of the human impact of climate change, to take over their Instagram account for a week. A tall order- I’m not that good with my own social media. However, I did it, and I was pleasantly surprised by the lovely comments from followers. Here is a haiku, which was my first post:
Spring/Summer Writing Opportunities!
LIFELONG LEARNING DUNDEE:
FINDING INSPIRATION THROUGH FOLKLORE APRIL 18th for five weeks; 6.30pm-8.30pm £40/35
Humans have been finding ways to re-imagine folk tales since the earliest times. This course is a must for everyone with an interest in the creative arts. We’ll look at the various themes and ideas associated with our storytelling heritage and discover, through guided prompts, what they can bring to our own practice. Ideal for writers, artists, poets, musicians and anyone who would like to make new work from old tales
WRITING JUST FOR YOU #8 April 5th for four weeks; 6.30pm-7.30pm £45
Does what it says on the tin! This is the perfect way to enjoy writing for its own sake, without pressure or expectation. Even if you are new to writing, you’ll soon get into the rhythm of it.
Each week, we will have a chat about the theme of the week, and perhaps look at a poem, take part in a mini-meditation (just five minutes of mindful relaxation) and then settle down for 20 minutes of undisturbed writing time
For more information and to book, email email@example.com
FINALLY…I will be running two 10-week upskilling modules at the University of Dundee (online). Scroll down to STARTING CREATIVE WRITING & THE LURE OF THE DARK (Folklore plus creative writing) for full details and how to apply. There are free places available for anyone working for a Scottish employer and wanting to upskill, facing redundancy or seeking employment .I’m still waiting for confirmation on start dates (usually May for Creative Writing and July for Folklore), but please contact me or Claire Nicoll at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.