Tuesday, 3 December 2013

2013, a year of adventure...

The year hasn't quite drawn to a close so it's a bit early to be melancholy and hanker after days that are waving a fond farewell to 2013 somewhere in the distance.

December is just beginning so I really should let it thrive.  I should give the spirit of Christmas time to glisten and wax lyrical in festive cheer, or sweet sorrow, until the embers burn out on Hogmanay and give way to a new flame.  
And yet it's never too early to be reflective and think about those moments that you just know will stay with you, even when the days turn to weeks and the months to another year.
2013 is all but gone. It has been an exhausting and challenging year, with all the 'lows' that life carries with it maintaining a constant presence, like forgotten sweet wrappers in an old overcoat, hiding in little corners, sticking to the edges with a gluey substance that clings to your fingertips no matter how often you try to wash it off.
The 'highs' though have been here in abundance too. It has been a year of summits, ambitions hurdled like munros, memories captured in little petals of exhilaration that press against the horizon in pink clouds of summer blossom.

A lot has happened in 2013.
I've always wanted to write. Indeed, I have always written. Often pieces of nothing, or sometimes a little bit of something that sparkled with a teeny bit of promise; but mostly I have just written and written, a plethora of words, snatched greedily from the sky or the sea, the mountains and rivers or from the lingering memories of the people that make us who we are. After a lot of tlc, and good advice from people who knew when to nudge and cajole and encourage when it was so obviously required, my debut novel was published in November of 2013, this year of adventure.
I'm very proud of this. In the real world I work two 'full time' jobs and writing has to take a step to the side and be ready to push itself to the fore in rare moments that don't involve work or family. I have become adept at snatching windows of opportunity in a frenzied wave of activity. The moments crash like a freezing sea, the impact shocking and all the while exhilarating when the chance arrives unexpectedly from the deep and wraps itself around me like kelp, washing the page with colourful stories that make me weep and laugh and swallow quietly in pleasure, or indeed sorrow because with the depth comes not just the sea urchins but the hollows where monsters often lie...
And so far so good. The reviews by readers have been really positive (thus far!) and I am immensely proud that my characters' tumultuous journey is being shared by others. My creations are being carried, gently, from pillar to post by readers who are caring and giving strength. That is just lovely. The Birds That Never Flew, published by Thunderpoint is available HERE, just in case you were wondering!!
Ian Rankin offered me some advice recently. He said, never allow yourself to lose the excitement of seeing your book in print. Pick it up, leaf through the pages and feel the absolute joy of knowing it is your own creation. It is lovely advice. I never want to lose that 'moment'. And so I will continue. A new book is planned for completion in 2014...
And so on to Mullindress. Otherwise known as betwixt and between, grand designs Margot...
You may remember the journey that, along with my loved ones, I set out on some 9 months ago - investing love and attention in a dwelling that encompassed the beautiful history of a world once lived, a homestead that wouldn't give way but instead rise up and wrap itself around a new beginning, a home built on inspiration, creativity and an overarching passion for maintaining a path for my family to follow, long after the days and months and years that I shelter alongside are bidding farewell in the distance...
The house is now a home. It has pushed its knees straight and stretched towards the vast grey sky. It is  already bursting with inspiration, waiting to share its lovely narrative with the world, hopefully through the words that I grasp with fervour from the windows and doors  that rock ever so gently alongside the sweet smelling sea breeze.
The house has still to be fully furnished, but here's a wee glance at where it is at! It is rather beautiful, don't you think!

This is where the story began, in 2013, that year that threatens to push out its wings and soar towards the stars.
This beautiful old homestead is very much still present! The original stone, some 200 years old, now shapes the future as it has been used to create the surrounding walls that circle and protect Mullindress, holding it against its breast like a babe in arms. How's that for a thing of beauty.
Loads of chapters still to follow as the house becomes a home! The official moving in date is 2nd January 2014. Another year of adventure ahead.
Life isn't easy, it can be astonishingly hard and unpredictable and like many others I'm all too aware of the pain that can bear down upon us with crushing weight. But we get up and we rebuild and live and love and be as strong as we possibly can be because, well because, if we don't do that what on earth is the point of it all.
Happy almost new year all! x

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