Yesterday was Midsummer Day. Rain fell heavily for most of the day and the temperature soared to low double figures. Flaming June. Jo’s birthday. For me a writers’ workshop at the Potarch Hotel, near Aboyne, led by Margaret Elphinstone . A thought-provoking and stimulating day illuminated by insights and islands – Margaret, a self-confessed lover of islands, brought the light of northern islands and huge skies to our seminar room. And inspiration.
In the morning, she asked us to pen the first few lines of a short story that would hook in the reader. I wrote:
It was as she crouched naked behind the sliding door of the wardrobe that Julie wondered if she’d gone too far this time. In the dark silence that had followed the rattling swing of the coat hangers, she had become aware of her breathing. Expectation. More silence. Footsteps. She heard the door open and Stuart’s voice imperiously saying to the porter: “Please just put the bag over there on the bed.” There was a hand on the wardrobe now.
“Shall I hang up this coat, sir?”
“No,” Julie prayed. “No. Please don’t.”
Are you hooked?
Today Jo and I drove to Banchory and bought a table and some chairs for the garden in an effort to will summer to come. As if to reward us, the sun shone briefly on our return. The BBC News tells us that Mohammed Mursi is to be the new President of Egypt, promising that there is “no room for the language of confrontation”.
I despair at the state of my study. The digital age has brought far too much paper into my life – this is not how it was meant to be. But at least the scribbled notes from yesterday’s workshop are papers worth preserving – I think. Egypt and my study await.