Spring is making itself known here in Fife. First off was the snowdrops, which I knew from extensive research (reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) are the first sign of spring. Now some purple and yellow flowers have started to appear. I’ve been informed these are crocuses; another plant I only know from books.
One thing there’s no shortage of here in Scotland is water (it’s coming through my roof, which is…less fun), and Water is also the wonderful anthology I am very proud to have been part of. A collection of African short stories from across the continent and diaspora, it received this lovely write up from WAWA BOOK REVIEW:
What plays out in this rich collection is a stimulating re-imagination of water: as giver and taker of life, as nourisher of life and harbinger of woe, as purifier, as an unstoppable change agent. Each of the writers featured in this anthology dares to plunge into deep water to deliver a rich serving, a robust contribution to the discourse of life (reminding us that the African story is not a single trite tale but, like water, a refreshing outlet into the intricate design of a fertile continent).
The review had kind things to say about my story and I was so happy to read this:
Perhaps the boldest in the collection, Cat Hellisen’s ‘The Worme Bridge’ captures the unsettling transformation of an entire family into scaly aquatic creatures. The gripping story almost forcefully drags the reader into the strange world of the unfortunate family, pushing the borders of imagination to the lofty realm from which the writer conceived this grim tale.
If you haven’t yet checked out the anthology, it’s available internationally via Amazon in either paperback or ebook format.
It’s 15 days into NaNoWriMo, and I am comfortably on par which makes a rather nice change. Usually around this time of the year it’s summer for me and my brain has effectively melted, but this year I am on Scottish Seasonal Time, so I am rather enjoying the crispness, the colours, and the fact that every room in the house has a heater. (So not like SA, where I just froze in winter because no one believes in heated houses.)
I took a walk down to Inverkeithing today and I love how the seasons are so different. There’s no doubt that summer is well over and that winter has its claws out.
The colours are what get me though: flame oranges and deepest reds, berries crimson, bright translucent red, clusters of white globes, rose hips like fat contented octopuses, the deep dusky violet browns of faded hydrangeas and the stark trees, black and silver.
Inspired by artists like Jackie Morris and Emma Mitchell, I’ve been working on my drawing again. I’ve set myself to do one small nature study a day, and it’s quite soothing. It’s been giving me a sense of accomplishment to have actually drawn something, however small.
I’m hoping that my drawing practice is going to help my writing. Art is about attention to detail, and good writing comes alive in the details, in the specificity of the language. Here’s to creative cross-training and future results and present happiness.
It’s a quiet, warm Sunday, and there’s a magpie strutting about my fresh-mown lawn, looking for bugs. Everyone in the house is sick and/or asleep, so I mowed the lawn with the little push mower Brian bought and I just love it! It actually cuts the grass, makes fairly little noise, and is fuel-free so good for the environment. While out in the back garden I discovered that it’s not all weeds and grass, but also the neighbour’s plants which have crawled over the fence and began to establish themselves. Which means, for the first time in my life, I have brambles!
LOOKEE, actual real blackberries, not just stuff I read about in books. I am ridiculously excited about this, it’s kinda sad.
While we have hardly any furniture (beyond cardboard boxes charmingly “decorated” with my scarves), I did get myself a bike. I also discovered that though I walk a lot, walking and biking use a very different set of muscles. My knees are like HOLY MOTHER OF DRAGONS WHAT IS THIS WHAT DID WE EVER DO TO YOU?
I am loving it here in Scotland, though I am feeling a little lonely. My family and friends are all on the other side of the world. On facebook I see my friends doing stuff around Cape Town, having birthdays, celebrating book launches and all those things, and I realise just how isolated I am at the moment. I know no-one nearby here and it’s a little scary. One thing I am looking forward to is going to Fantasycon in Scarborough in September, where at least I will see some familiar faces and feel a little less like a lost fart in a perfume factory.
Writing has been on the backburner (haha let’s not lie, it has been off the hob completely) while we were making the final immigration moves, and I’m feeling a bit pointless at the moment. I need to knuckle down on Monday and try get my head back in the right space for making and fixing words. I know people are waiting for me to send them stuff or respond to emails but my mind has been totally occupied with the move (and the *wonderful* flu that came with it :P). Things should get more or less back to normal now.
It’s my husband’s birthday today (happy borning day, spousal unit!), and yesterday the universe gave him probably the best gift ever. It sure beat my hairbrush (what? he has lots of hair, he needs a detangling brush…).
The upshot of Awesome Present is we now know where we’re moving to. Some of you know we’ve been planning to emigrate, and now it’s official. In 2 weeks, The Boy will be in Dunfermline, Scotland, and before the end of this year, we will be joining him.
I am so excited about this new adventure, even if I’m freaking out a little about the cost, and leaving friends and family, and starting from scratch in a new country at age 39… Ha! But, I think it will be awesome, and I cannot wait to see my new home. 😀
Once we’re there this may become something of an immigrant’s blog as I track my experiences, so, fair warning.