Saturday was as relaxing as it was productive. I was up very sharp and writing by 7.30am—Friday’s blog entry and some catch-up on BACCARA BURNING. By 9.30am I was in the centre of Edinburgh waiting for the Edinburgh Book Festival to open. Kind of weird standing outside the gates and looking in to see the Square empty, but soon it was and I was collecting the tickets I purchase on Friday night.
First stop on my clear and pleasant morning was the book shop. One of the guys in my writing group gave a 10-minute reading yesterday there (I couldn’t go because of work), an opportunity that arose from being published in New Writing Scotland. Because I missed his story, and because I wanted to read more work from my contemporaries, I thought I would buy the book. It took me ages to find a copy lying in the Scottish History section, and I suspected it was the last one in the shop.
With book in hand I popped over to the Writer’s Retreat. Ten at Ten is a free (but ticketed) daily event—ten minute readings from unannounced authors at ten am—and this morning it was Canadian author, Gil Adamson reading from her novel, The Outlander. I could have sat and listened to her read the whole book, but alas, time ran out.
With the weather improving further, I walked back along Rose Street and popped in to my usual place for a coffee and warm chocolate pastry. It was there I read my friend’s story and several others. The standard, I felt, was mixed, but my pal’s story was very, very good. Thought provoking, nice twist, gently worked, and beautifully crafted.
I had to remind myself I had another event at 11.30am, so I returned to the RBS Main Tent for the final time at this year’s book festival. I knew his intelligence and literary and critical skills were unmatched, but Melvyn Bragg was not what I thought he might be otherwise. He seemed so much more vulnerable and distressed with the mortality of life. I found his talk very sad, particularly when referring to the suicide of his first wife forty years ago, which quite clearly he blames himself for. One can only hope book, Remember Me can help him with that.
Back home and an afternoon of office clearing, PC maintenance, website work, GDR ticking, and at last, some unbroken writing time. The house was empty for the most part, and on a Saturday that is just unparalleled, so all I wanted to do was party. But I also had to write, so write I did.
In the evening, after celebrating St Mirren’s 2-1 away win at Kilmarnock, Gail and I found ourselves dog sitting for a friend—wee Gracie is getting much bigger these days—so I treated us to an Indian meal: pakora, lamb madras, pilau rice, and nan bread. Bliss!
Let’s hope today is more of the same. I’ve got another Ten at Ten this morning with poet, Sean O’Brien, and at 7pm I will be back at the Square for Gillian Slovo.