Learning to walk in the dark

Learning to walk in the dark

Do you welcome the coming of the dark nights as Autumn closes in? Or do you rage, rage against the dying of the light? At this time of year, when I pull the curtains closed of an evening, I can still hear my mother’s voice commenting doomily, “The nights are drawing...

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What is Water?

What is Water?

The answer seems obvious. But it’s not so simple. In Scotland’s mild, damp climate we tend to take water for granted. But just now the loch beside our house is as low as I’ve ever seen it. The expanse of dried mud and stone all around its shore keeps on getting wider...

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Do You Paddle Your Own Canoe?

Do You Paddle Your Own Canoe?

I made a canoe! Isn't she fine? Have you ever had an ambition to do something but realised you needed help? Well, I had some help. Quite a lot actually, from the fine folk at Archipelago Folkschool on the Isle of Mull. I love their ethos of' 'connecting people with...

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Shimmeringness

Shimmeringness

There's a very particular quality to the light here in Orkney, as anyone who has been here will know. Maybe it's to do with the Northerly latitude, or the open landscape and big skies, or the presence of the sea and bright lochs all around us. Orcadian writer George...

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Silver leaf, moths and mending

Silver leaf, moths and mending

It's been a slow spring here in Orkney, with the cold dragging its heels even as the light floods back and the evenings open up. But memories of the extraordinary blue-and-silver days of snow and hard frost we had back in February and March are coming back in the...

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How to Hold a Cloud

How to Hold a Cloud

"How to Hold a Cloud" is a new short piece of writing which, along with the accompanying drawing (shown below) is included in the new issue of Dark Mountain, Issue 19: Requiem. I'm delighted to be alongside writers such as Jay Griffiths. Kerri ni Dochartaigh and Nancy...

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The Clearing out now in paperback

The Clearing out now in paperback

The Clearing is now available in a beautiful paperback edition. It positively sparkles with gold! I recently had a chance to speak to and thank Sophie Harris, whose beautiful design for the cover has garnered such lavish praise from so many people. It was lovely to...

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Time, boredom and that 4am feeling

Time, boredom and that 4am feeling

When I was a kid, stuck in the family caravan in the Trossachs on yet another rainy weekend I’d get fed up of reading or drawing or staring out the window, and complain to my parents of boredom. I can remember my mother answering briskly “If you’re bored it’s because...

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Connecting through the digital ether

Connecting through the digital ether

  When The Clearing was published this March it turned out to be just days before a full lockdown was announced. Seeing the whole world turned upside down by the pandemic kept some perspective on things, but it seemed at the time a disastrous moment to bring out...

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Watching the winter skies

Watching the winter skies

  At this time of year in Orkney the light fades so fast it seems to start getting dark just after lunch. As the Winter Solstice draws near we’re switching lights on by 3.30pm. By 4 o'clock in the afternoon the windows have become black mirrors. We draw the...

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Residency in a shipping container

Residency in a shipping container

  This month's big excitement was my first trip beyond Orkney's shores since March. I was fortunate to be able to finally take up my Scottish Emerging Writer's Residency at the wonderful Cove Park Artists' Centre in Argyll. I'd been due to go in June, but of...

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“FLOW” THE MOVIE LAUNCHED!

“FLOW” THE MOVIE LAUNCHED!

A few weeks ago I returned to the Balfour Hospital to record some video for Orkney's virtual Doors Open Day. The finished video was launched for the DOD weekend of Sept 26/27 and it's still available on my Vimeo. In it, I explain a bit about this project and how it...

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