About Me

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I write well researched but readable historical and contemporary novels and some non-fiction. I live in a Scottish country cottage with my artist husband. I love gardening and I also collect the fascinating antique textiles that often find their way into my fiction. This blog is about all these things and more!

Friday, February 29, 2008

A wee poem for my dad.

Every year (because I think it's on TV in the UK just about every year) I watch that superb film the Railway Children, and at the moment when Bobbie meets the train, I start to cry. I know why I'm crying, and I know too why every other woman I know, who loved her dad and lost him, also sheds a little tear at that precise moment. I've heard that many men are similarly affected and for much the same reason, by the movie Field of Dreams. But the Railway Children does it for me every time. And this year, I thought I would have to write a poem about it, and so I did.

DADDY MY
Dad, dead these fourteen years,
came to the door in a dream last night.
He still does this, a little less
often perhaps, but always
with a wee ache of normality.

I rushed through the room to
take his hand which
seemed oddly cool and small.
In life his hands were warm and
chipped and tinted with paint.
He was a dad who fixed things.

Waking I remembered how
the Railway Children makes me cry
with my incurable need to be Bobbie
in that daddy my daddy moment
meeting my own perfect train.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Novels and poems and other things

Having acquired a new PC a few weeks ago, with all the usual attendant miseries, too boring to go into here, I can't say I've done anything much in the intervening period except keep on top of the bread and butter work, write a few poems, and post bits of The Corncrake on here. Today felt like the first day of spring - warm, sunny, balmy. Can't help but feel that - as they say in Scotland - we'll pay for it - but it was nice to see that big yellow thing in the sky whose name I have forgotten. Rather like when the Isle of Arran emerges from the mists after days of invisibility and you think 'oh yes - there's an island out there, isn't there?'
All of which is to say that I am faffing about trying to decide what to work on next. I am in the position of having begun two different novels, one called The Physic Garden and one called The Marigold Child. Both of them are on my mind rather because one is slightly more 'literary' than the other but both are historical. On the other hand, I had a sudden revelation about the slightly less literary book, and have altered my approach to it quite drastically, which might, I suppose, make it a little more literary as well - although it's still a damn good story, even if I do say so myself.
At the moment, I am using one as displacement activity for the other. Not a good idea, but something that many writers will be familiar with. I must take a decision, take the plunge and decide to go with one or the other. My plan is to draft one of them out completely, and then turn my attention to the other one while I am leaving the first one to lie fallow. By the summer, I should have drafts of two new novels. That's the idea anyway. By the end of the year I should have revised drafts of two new novels. You will notice that there is no mention of plays in here. That's because I have given up on them and decided to use that creative energy, all those voices, in poems. Every play I wrote, latterly, wanted to be a poem. Nobody wanted the plays. But oddly enough, they do seem to want the poems. Better to go with the flow for now.