The city through a lens

Sometimes, down the wynds and closes of Edinburgh, you can find strange and rare glimpses which move you out of the ordinary and into a different, parallel world:

...I didn't go in. But that was because it was locked.

There are barred doorways and wrought iron fences leading into the underground – where the dank, dark remnants of lanes and houses long built over can be wandered, if you have a guide. Or you can go down into a subterranean drinking den, where the old stone is lit up in lurid lozenges of colour (that’s the entrance to said den above, to The Caves).

Sign at the doorway leading into the 'Haunted' underground vaults - South Niddry St

Where the geography of a street may provide the perfect setting for your encounter with a ghost, or nefarious character out of a gritty noir:

I love how, here, the buildings and streets of the city seem as if they have always been there, something to do with the layering textures of stone against stone

But then the sun comes out…

Locked parks are so tantalising

…and your Edwardian romance begs to be written over pots of green tea served in the finest china.

But instead, you go back home to the clutter of the sofa to write of the Bandolier cliff dwellings in Western New Mexico, and coyotes, and hesitant relationships. And wonder what you will one day do with all the images Edinburgh has given you, because not a scrap of bark or segment of railing should be wasted. Another story out of these ingredients, in year from now or longer…



Filed under consolations of writing, Edinburgh, Planning, The Now

8 responses to “The city through a lens

  1. Schietree,
    I have come back here numerous times since you posted this just to look at the photo of the woman walking away through all of that stone. That photo needs to be blown up and hung on a wall…my wall!

    You are right, these stories need to be told. I keep a separate journal for just such bits, ideas, what the impetus was, the overall feeling along with any detail that I know. They won’t be lost, but my brain isn’t large enough for more than my WIP right now.

  2. I’m glad you like it! Edinburgh is almost ridiculously scenic, so it’s not too hard to get a good shot even with a wee point-and-click.

    A separate journal is a wonderful idea – and an excuse to buy extra stationary. I used to keep one back when I was focusing on poetry rather than prose.

    • I’m delighted to be the cause of further journal buying. It makes my consumption of beautiful paper and notebooks seem less insane.

      • See, the problem with beautiful notebooks is that they can be terribly intimidating…what if I ruin them with mediocre thoughts? I think I prefer an open word document. It doesn’t judge me…

  3. Western New Mexico. I lived there as a child, actually. The air smelled like pinion pines–we used to pluck the seeds from the pine cones and eat them on the way to school.

  4. We lived in Edinburgh for a year in 2004. I still miss it. It’s the biz.

    • I spent the entirety of my teenage years here, and haven’t lived permanently in Edinburgh since I was 18. It’s slightly dislocating to be back, hence all the pictures, attempts at grounding.

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