I know I’m already not the world’s most regular blogger, but I’m likely to go dead silent for the next two weeks as we make the final push to engage the people of Moffat in the referendum conversation. Last week we had a stall at the local agricultural show,
yesterday we had a street stall
and in between I’ve been working like a thing possessed to get some poems ready for submission for the big deal (to be revealed in January).
I’ve been working on my writing for nine years, but, as my recent foray into photography shows, I’ve not been quite as persistent as I might. For a while there I gave up on writing altogether, probably because I’m not so good at ignoring the world around me, especially the people I love, and everything went very weird for a few years. Anyway, back on track now I’ve been working hard on polishing poems I began before the weirdness descended, but also on brand new ones, and I’m quite pleased with some of my new work. Not because it’s brilliant, but because it feels consistent, and right.
And now I have a little recognition. I sent three poems to Southlight a lit mag produced in Dumfries and Galloway, and which attracts and publishes writers from all over the world (though mostly Scotland and the UK), and they accepted all of them for their 16th edition, due out at the end of the month. I can’t tell you how encouraging this is, it feels like someone who knows has told me that, yes, I am a poet. Of course I do know one of the editors (there are three), and the executive editor, so I guess the real test will be when I send work out to magazines further afield, but I’m pretty sure if the poems were not poems at all they wouldn’t have accepted them, no matter how kind they are. Payment will be a free copy of the magazine (standard stuff in this game), so there’s no fortune to be made, but hey.
Now I have to take a short break from the poems because of the campaign for independence. It’s getting beyond exciting to be here, it’s beginning to feel like one of those great epochs that tend to fuel great art. The latest polls show Yes in the lead (51%), and it looks like we could actually win. There are all sorts of scare stories being peddled (e.g that our economy is too reliant on oil; we’ll be chucked out of Europe; we’ll need to invent our own currency), and no doubt taking control of our own country won’t be easy, but it’s been done by hundreds of others. And as individuals we’ve all done it. We’ve all set out from positions of little responsibility to having to learn to feed ourselves, keep a home, and pay our own bills, and most of us survived. I don’t see why Scotland can’t. The union has done its job, but it’s time for it to make way for a more equal relationship between the countries of these islands.
Tomorrow we’ll run another street stall in the morning, and go out canvassing in the afternoon. That will be the story of my days until September 18, after which I plan to party.