I’ve had the most wonderfully enlightening, and really rather exciting week (as in week’s worth of days, not calendar). And things could become more so. As I sit here I could almost vomit over my keyboard, I’m that skittish with the maybes, mights, and coulds. Not to mention the and then whats? I am, on the whole, fairly cautious. I tend to think things through to the nth degree, and have missed the odd once in a lifetime because of this. So when I act impulsively I scare myself, and yesterday I acted impulsively.
Up near inverness there’s a writing centre called Moniack Mhor. It used to be linked to the Arvon Foundation, but thanks to Scottish arts funding is now independent. I have friends who have been on courses there, and they come back invigorated and singing of its inspirational surroundings, tutors, and atmosphere. And I have long since yearned to go. But I am cautious. And broke. So I don’t even notice when they have courses running, or with whom; in the same way I don’t notice the football results, or the price of theatre tickets.
This is the kind of thing I do notice: what strength and will this little wild-flower must have to grow here.
However, yesterday a friend posted on Facebook that due to a couple of cancellations there are places on the inaugural course, and there was something in that link that made me click. Once on the course page (or maybe it was evident in the link) I found it’s to be a poetry retreat that involves workshops, one to ones, and hunners of time to wander in the hills, and sit quietly and write. The tutors are: Carol Ann Duffy, the Poet Laureate, and poet Michael Woods. And half way through the (not quite) week a guest, John Sampson, who is a composer, musician, and actor will arrive. The thing I also discovered when I landed on the page is that they offer grants if you’re a bit strapped. Email and ask, it said. So I did.
In my fantasy life this is my back yard.
After some faffing about today with the scanner I sent them the required past three bank statements so they can see if I’m grant worthy. Meanwhile, they have blocked off a space, so someone else can’t usurp me while they make their assessment. I could be going to Inverness next week to have my poetic potential looked over by the Poet Laureate.
These boats remind me of whales rubbing noses. And I love the mutual peeling of their paints.
I checked the trains this evening: I can get to inverness and back for £68. I could mange that at a pinch, but it would mean no anything else for a while, so I wonder if I could hitch? The Mr came in from a trip to town last Thursday, and called up the stairs: “I’ve got four French hitch-hikers with me…” If four French kids can do it why can’t I? I’ve done it before, in fact, not that long ago either. It could be a real adventure.
I can carry everything I need for a day’s rock staring in this pack.
The enlightening thing was this: I’ve been working on processing my holiday shots on and off since arriving home. It must be a month by now, and it’s beginning to curtail. I have other images to process, some of them are for other people, but until I finish the holiday ones I can’t bring myself to move on. It’s got so that I deliberately leave my camera at home when I go out. However, I get emails from Digital Photography School at least twice a week, though I mostly just delete them these days (like so many of the emails I get) because I don’t feel I have the time to get distracted. But feeling a little idle on Sunday morning I opened one, clicked on a link about creative something or other tips, and read. It was pretty much the usual stuff about giving yourself time, but toward the end I read an approximation of the words: ‘Don’t let seriousness about your photography spoil your enjoyment of taking snaps. Not every shot has to be a work of art, some can just be holiday snaps, or snaps of your kids.’
Who could resist taking a photo of Highland coos?
I knew that, but I didn’t know that. I needed someone to tell me that my holiday snaps could be ordinary. They could be nothing more than documents, or memory joggers. And, voila! yesterday and this evening I managed to whizz through quite a large batch, some of which I show here. I’ve still got quite a few to do, but I’ll try and finish them tomorrow, and that will be it, I’ll be able to move on.
Rock family at leisure.
One more thing: I popped into the Scottish Poetry Library last Wednesday to load up with tomes, and picked up a copy of the lit mag Northwords Now. Inside I discovered Aonghas MacNeacail: holy fucking cow. Read him.
Obviously if I go to the Highlands next week I’ll take my camera with me. And a notebook.