There are 1.6 million voters grieving here in Scotland for the loss of the independence vote. Myself, my family, my friends, the people who spoke to me in the street with hope in their hearts. What to do, in the midst of loss? And now in the newspaper headlines ‘Public funds to decrease to Scotland, says no.10′ and ‘English votes for English laws’ usurping the priorities of the promised powers (on tax, welfare) that were supposed to go to Scotland on event of No (a vow signed by three leaders, a vow that looks likely to crumble under their shrugs of indifference). Now bloody strikes with ISIS, with a multiheaded concept, at the behest of America, likely. Meanwhile the shadow Labour government of Westminster say they’ll cap child benefit, as a way to help fix the economy they told us was so much more robust that Scotland on its own. Dystopian.
What to do?
What we can. I’ve been reading. Burrowing down into books, though none of them comforting. Thirst, by Kerry Hudson. A heartache of a book, all tactility and full of fumes and grime and hope. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, that reclaimed feminist classic, gloriously landscaped, which nevertheless suffers for its undercurrents of racism, classism that go unacknowledged. Revenge by Yoko Ogawa, a series of strange, interconnected salt-sweet tales with a smack of coldness to them. Now biting into Gone To the Forest by Katie Kitamura, placeless colonial tension in a world of violent men and arid fields. All in the last three days.
Writing. I’ve finished the flash novella of island-bound witchy girlhood and charismatic monsters and abandonment – Villain Miriam. Looking for where to send it to, this tiny shattered fairytale. Aside from this, I’ve been job searching, for work in Creative Writing, for ESL, for volunteering opportunities that fit the skills I have to offer. This takes time. And in between the leaves still fall and the nights creep closer, huddling in. Seasons change – at least there is always this.
A sad day. 55% no, 45% yes. No independence for us.
Here is a followup to my hopeful post of only yesterday, now on the no vote:
This morning, Scotland is still a country within the United Kingdom, but with 1.6 million people heartbroken, and serious talk of reform toward a North American style federalism hovering in the air.
Today, the 18th of September, 2014, the people of Scotland get to decide whether we should become an independent country.
I can hardly breathe! The atmosphere is so exciting. No one can predict which way it will go – with 97% of the public here registered to vote, some of the for the first time ever in their adult lives, and the polls neck and neck, we won’t know which way we’ve chosen until some time in the morning tomorrow.
I’ve written a piece on my choice, here :
“I’ve never been moved to do anything political beyond voting, and once going on a march for peace. So, it was strange to find myself volunteering for the yes campaign, and standing at rush hour on the corner outside a subway station in Glasgow, handing out leaflets.”
But of course there have been LOADS of words expended on this. Below are a few of my favourites, and while I’m pro-yes, and obviously I’ll chose some articles that reflect that, on the other hand, this has been a dialogue and I hope this list reflects that a bit:
A video following mood of people across the country
Why are so many writers in Scotland pro-independence?
An exploration of identity by one England-born Indian Scot
A dispassionate history of the union, exploring Scotland’s move from country-within-the-union to region
Worried about the economy, currency and banks? The FT has a word for you
What’s broken in the union
“We’ve stopped thinking like consumers and started thinking like citizens”
‘A note to my fellow English people on Scottish Independence’
‘Why are so many ethnic Scots voting yes?’
“And most of us are large enough to contain multitudes…”
‘Yes or no, the little white rose of Scotland will bloom again’
Still undecided? Get out there in the last few hours, close out the noise and find your strong reason for your vote. This in an epic day for everyone in Scotland – I hope that all of us make the most of it, continuing the peaceful optimism and thoughtfulness which have marked the discourse on the ground. Let’s walk out into the future, knowing we did the best we could for this generation and the ones to come!
Another piece from On The Edges Of Vision is live in Cobalt Review’s new edition:
To take a special holiday to visit the place where they were last seen.
To take a bus and then a train, the green countryside blipping past, the
technology of an earlier era but no less miraculous.
To arrive at the station, the only person standing on the platform under a
To see likewise the yellow fields of rapeseed swaying in a breeze your arms
do not register.
To feel in your nerves the storm hunching below the horizon.
‘To String’ starts from page 13, but there’s plenty more to see in the journal.
It’s an MR Jamesian sort of a thing, pseudo-academics and haunted houses in quiet locales. Look out for a little detail from another story of mine, slipped in…
Now the flat has settled into place, the ghosts pacified and the furniture (mostly) rearranged to suit, I have begun a new project. This while I wait for more hard work on On The Edges Of Vision (some time later in the year).
I’ve started a novella in small flash bits, a little in the style of Mary Robison (of One DOA and One on the Way and Why Did I Ever) but without attempting her acerbic wit and pithiness. This novella, currently called Villain Miriam (which I hope sounds like a toxic plant) is about a girl called Aophe who goes to live in a witchy house on the shore of an island, thinking she is special. She has a pug puppy for a familiar, while the two other witch-types there (a girl called Mar and a boy called Tatra) have much more sinister creatures at their disposal. And then there is the Miriam of the title, a shady figure who has appeared in other fictions of mine.
I’d like to get the piece to about 20,000 words long, then edit it down to the shape and weight of a little stone, then throw it out to sea. There are a number of deadlines out there for novellas between 36-100 pages, some for the beginning and some for the end of October. It’s a light, dark, slightly younger thing I’m writing. Hopefully just right for the closing-in, Samhain time of the year.
My piece, ‘Chrysanthemums’, is now live on the new issue of Synaesthesia Magazine. You can read the story from page 22 onwards.
D and I are in Glasgow now, with a house like a tornado’s been through it, and a to-do list that seems to grow rather than shrink by the day. Posting will be light for a little while, I think.
You may have noticed I have been quite quiet on this blog. In part, that’s been because of the move to Glasgow BUT ALSO BECAUSE OF THIS:
My collection of flash fiction, entitled On The Edges of Vision will be released in 2015 by Queen’s Ferry Press!
Here’s a link to my bio on Queen’s Ferry Press.
I am so thrilled. The collection was previously known as Monstirs, and several of the flash have been published in journals lately (check out my Fiction list for a read of them)
This is all a wonderful dream.