A Note Full of Metaphor. Metaphorful?

(Which is a good word, whether it exists or not.)

River in Scotland

The photographs to accompany this piece were all taken on my journey southward last week. As such they are blurred in places, rough around the edges, show reflections, and are generally imperfect. Like me.

I write, I tell stories. Sometimes these are short, scant and brief, mere sketches of ideas designed to stimulate and provoke the thought process. At other times I write longer pieces, novellas and novels broken into digestible chunks, chapters and line breaks punctuating the manuscript.

My life is like this. At times I can see events unfurl that will become a chapter, a longer tale, perhaps a theme to be reintroduced later in life. At others I know that pause is permanent, this is over, put the book down, breathe and move on. Some chapters overlap, where one is defined by place, another can be predominantly about relationships — but these two things are not exclusive, they both inhabit the same temporal plane, after all. (more…)

Passing Through Doorways

In the introduction to this series on my forthcoming plans, I suppose I gave you a brief idea of my personal history involving my sense of the world as a whole — nature, culture, animal, mineral, vegetable — and for this piece I shall continue in this vein. Some of you will already know much of this, but I think it better to repeat myself here, rather than skip details that will later prove important.

I left Orkney and headed for university when I was eighteen. Looking back, twenty years later, I seem impossibly young, naive, hedonistic and, at times, idiotic. I suppose, however, this is much the same with many eighteen year olds. I chose the wrong university course, in the wrong place, but that did not really matter. What I got out of that time of my life was far more important; I collected emotions, experiences, ideas, voices, and observations, as others collected stamps.

Old doorway with stone wall

Doorway in Lower Pulteneytown, Caithness. It seemed fitting to select doorways to illustrate this piece.

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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…)

On the Cusp of an USP? Niches and Me.

Find your niche, they say, then make it yours! (They often say this with an exclamation point!)!! (Deliberate over-punctuation there, sorry.) What’s your Unique Selling Point (USP)? (And, yes, I did put ‘an’ before USP in the title — I thought it worked better than ‘a’.)

Less a niche, more a tunnel...

Less a niche, more a tunnel…

This is, actually, very good advice for the blogger — and, in some ways, for the writer in general. It is important to know where to sit, how to connect with “your people”, or “your tribe” (see Alastair Humphreys’s advice for travel bloggers here, for some very good points and discussion).

However, I have a problem with this. I have no idea what my niche is…

I want to blog about all those things that make me, me. I want to talk about things I love and love what I talk about — otherwise, what’s the point? (more…)

Difference is Good

I use Scrivener to keep much of my online presence in one place — all these blog posts are crafted here. In the binder, within the “Blog Ideas” folder, there are currently 76 different pieces in various stages of composition. Five are mere titles with a question mark, but most have some further notes. At least half of them are mostly written, amounting to thousands of yet-to-be-seen words. Some may morph into Things to Pitch and Sell, but many should appear here. One day — wait and see.

Shells, sand, beach, differences, Dunnet, Caithness

This has nothing to do with this post…

I do not want to rush pieces to conform to a schedule. So many blogs I have seen are peppered with “Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while” posts — I have been guilty of this myself on more than one occasion — when this is not really needed. (more…)