Where do you go?

I like all the closes and lanes that offer shortcuts and new routes. For example:

I pass this most days on the way to and from town, and next week am going to explore where these stairs go to. (I could work it out in my head, of course, but that would spoil the fun)

I pass this most days, on the way to and from town and want to explore where these stairs lead to (I could work it out in my head, of course, but where would the fun be in that?)

Wise words

If one of the primary purposes of a blog is to share, then I would (should?) like to share this with you:

http://www.welcomebooks.com/giveitall/

For any of you currently writing or wanting to write.

In brief, I have been writing a book this spring, one that first bore fruit three-and-a-half years ago. And it’s been quite an experience! Maybe I shouldn’t have expected anything less.

But…A completely solitary pursuit where I’ve got lost in it for hours and days, then had to do other things for a while to keep this side of sanity. Some days I’d sit and write for so long I’d forget about lunch and tea (for me that’s something) and realise, at about 7pm, with stiff legs and when the words on the screen started to look like alien shapes, it might be an idea to go out and move and see the world. Other times self-doubt crept in and then questions about whether it was worth doing at all. Some days I convinced myself there’s a major distinction between published authors and ‘wannabe’ authors – that the former must all, without a doubt, have supreme self-confidence and have received a message from a higher place that they are most definitely  qualified, talented and worthy enough to write, and finish, a book. Then, that inner dialogue out the way,  I’d get back to it, lost in my words and story and creative process, and remembering why I wanted to write it in the first place.

In amongst all of the above, a few weeks back I called in to Edinburgh’s Central Library on George IV Bridge. I was looking for practical guides to self-publishing and, as I browsed the section, my eye was drawn to a book below, a handsome-looking book with its own box cover. ‘Give It All’ by Annie Dillard, illustrated by Sam Fink and with an introduction by Susan Cheever. I opened it up and it unfurled across the floor; it is designed with concertina-style pages and this was quite a clunky move for a silent, serious library so, slightly flustered, I folded it back up, placed it in its box, added it to the ‘borrowing’ pile and only read it properly when I got home.

Perhaps it was the timing of when I came across it, but I think it’s a beautiful book. And, I reckon, a wise guide for life as well as writing. I’m on the hunt for my own copy to buy – but it seems to be out of print. If anyone knows of where it’s available (apart from Amazon) please let me know..

From another angle

I’m watching the world go by in Holyrood Park while typing this (multi-tasker extraordinaire) and appreciating my new surroundings.

I moved into a flatshare last week, you see, and was a little apprehensive as it’s been eight years since I lived in such a set-up and had got very used to my own space and company. Also, everywhere I look it seems society deems that the ‘correct’ way of living at my age is to settle down. The message might come through our age-obsessed media or conversations with property-buying friends, or the fact about half of the ‘rooms offered’ ads on spareroom.co.uk requested flatmates under 30 (I’m 39, though people tell me I look like I’m still in my 20s, and to be fair I probably act it much of the time too). Whatever the medium, that message comes thick and fast. It seems we, females in particular, are expected to dread turning the big 4-0 for a variety of reasons, unless we’re in our own home, with kids and a partner, slim and wrinkle-free.
I’m digressing, but just to add that I couldn’t care less about turning 40; my only hope is it’s a more enjoyable/kinder time than much of my late 30s has been.

So how has the first week in this new environment been? Well I have nice flatmates and a cosy room and my own shower room – so not too bad as it happens, thank you for asking.
Mostly, though, it’s been interesting seeing Edinburgh from a different angle.

Without further ado here are my top 5 highlights (in no particular order)

1) Our living room window has a view of Arthur’s Seat, and it is even more stunning than I thought. Can any other city centre boast such a mass of wilderness/greenery, and a dormant volcano too? I love that there’s so many sides you can explore it from, too.

2) I can now walk everywhere – into town, to friends’ houses, to Portobello beach. Edinburgh is a city best explored by walking.

3) There’s a Poundworld and b&m bargain store nearby! Goodbye, budget, and here’s to many unwanted/unnecessary moment of madness purchases.

4) There’s a lovely, little-known park nearby. Away from the joggers, cyclists, walkers, dogs, picnickers in Holyrood Park, this secluded place still has views of Arthur’s Seat but has hardly anyone milling around and a more mellow feel to it. I like it there very much and plan to use it as my back garden/sunbathing spot/place to think.

5) The Manna House – independent purveyor of delicious breads, filled rolls, salads and cakes, including the rainbow cake – is my nearest bakery. This is an excellent thing.