The Foot of the Bed: A True Ghost Story

It was a dark and stormy night.

Actually, this is a lie. It was a clear, windy, and typically Northern-Scottish-Autumn night, with the moon and stars shining through the sloped window in my attic bedroom. I had no blind or curtain, not a problem in winter, but at this latitude summers are light, all night.

Moonlit night over the waters, ghost story weather.

Same moon, different Scottish waters. This was from my first long wilderness adventure out west.

We had moved to our third (and final, it would turn out) house in Orkney in order to spread. I now had five younger sisters and space had become a premium. I loved this house, built in the eighteenth century, allegedly by wreckers, those men and women who lured passing ships onto knives of rock and stole the cargo. The house was squat, stone and smelled of the earth, of old places. (more…)

My Greatest Enemy

For many years I have had but one great enemy, forever present, lurking in the shadows and whispering darkness. Impossible to shake off or lose, adept at finding me at my weakest and most vulnerable, possessing cunning and intelligence matching my own, the scales evenly balanced.

I am my own worst enemy; whether by sabotaging chances of success through fear, powerfully procrastinating, or prize-winning doubt, I can bring about disorder and despair with ne’er an outside influence.

It is so easy to talk the self out of doing something. If I do not share my ideas, goals, and plans with others, who knows when I have completed these, but myself? And I can always tell myself a change of plan was for the best. Sometimes I’ll even believe it. (more…)

Years Left

I used to write for a website my sister built and curated, full of interesting and, at times, wildly different art (watch this space for further news on said sister’s projects). Once upon a time, whilst I still lived in an English city, she asked some of the site’s contributors to put together a list of 21 Things — 21 goals — not dreams.

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Millennium Clock, National Museum Of Scotland, Edinburgh. The photos to accompany this piece are all to do with death, and the iconography of this, the final leveller. Most of them are also in a Flickr album called “Graveyards and Stones”, available here, with many others (some rather poignant gravestone inscriptions).

Recently I revisited my list, for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I wanted to see how many I have completed, or am on my way to completing (if, indeed, they can be completed — some were a little amorphous, hazy around the edges, and some were date-dependent — I am not yet fifty, for example). I count seven or eight I would say I could stroke through, although this figure may be a little higher or lower depending on interpretation. Three I know I will never complete; I could do, but older me no longer wants to. My priorities have changed. Life moves on. (more…)

Ninevah Must Fall, Jonah: On Fear of Success.

Recently I have been giving a lot of thought to fear. There are things in this life I am afraid of that, on the surface, make no sense. Fear is like this, it weaves and binds — insidious tendrils invade our minds and make us irrational.

Life has a way of jolting us, making us face our fears. Any big life event can create introspection, self-examination, planning, and reorganisation. In my own life, the last time such a change occurred I switched direction completely — getting divorced and eventually leaving behind the city I had called home for nearly ten years, living out in the wilds for an extended period, and returning to Scotland after far too long away.

It appears that 2015 will also be such a time of change. (more…)

The Future is Incoming

It appears that, despite my best efforts, I cannot get into a good blogging habit at all.

As I stated in my last piece, it’s not as if I haven’t been writing them — just not finishing and, sometimes, simply not posting.

Achanarras Quarry, Caithness

Achanarras Quarry, Caithness

I have recently been thinking a lot about the future and my place within it, where I should go, what projects I should prioritise, etcetera. This led to a long musing about fear and, in particular, fear of success. For me this is a far greater worry than fear of failure. Said piece has yet to be edited down to a reasonable length.

In turn, this sparked an epic on my flaws and faults and how they impact upon me. Again, not edited, not posted. (more…)