Balloch Open Mic – April Newsletter

balloch house hotel

Quote for the month: Let your mind wander in the pure and simple. Be one with the infinite. Let all things take their course. Chang Tzu (Chinese philosopher c. 4thC B.C.)

Another Month Gone By

fsw anthology

Another month gone by . . . Some lifting of restrictions but little of no news of when larger groups, such as the Open Mic, may be able to meet again. But the writing community is still active. So far I have avoided events on Zoom etc but recently I saw an event I wanted to support. It was the launch of the book ‘To whom it may concern’ Arbroath Anthology compiled by members of the Federation of Writers (Scotland). There were several authors whose work I knew, among them Ann MacKinnon and Charlie Gracie. The launch was brilliant with many of the writers reading their own work. Almost as good as being there in reality. See the launch on Federation of Writers Scotland Website.  

The May launch will be on Zoom on Tuesday 4 May from 3pm. The zoom link will be sent out a week beforehand.

See full review of the book on Open Mic Blog 14 April, 2021 

For copies (£2 each plus postage and packing) please Email. Jenifer Harley Great value!!!

(Ann and Charlie’s contributions can be read on the second and third pages so do scroll all the way down.)

Autumn Voices


And now for the more mature among you. The website has lots of opportunities for we of a more lengthy life. The website was set up by Robin Lloyd-Jones (another of our headliners) and is based on his book of the same name. I quote from Robin:

robin lloyd jones autumn voies

It all began when I turned sixty. My junk-mail now included adverts for Zimmer frames, stair lifts and comfy slippers. People would come up to me and say, ’Are you still writing?’ or ‘Are you still kayaking and hillwalking?’ Yes, yes, yes!  Admittedly, the physical activities were now happening on a more modest scale, but I had realised that – too often – because of the weight of negative expectations, so much potential waiting to be released on retirement and so many ambitions that could be fulfilled in later life come to nothing.’ The rest of the story may be read on the website. Also on the site is  writing in all genres, on all subjects by people over the age of sixty who are still writing creatively.

The Spring Short Story Competition is now open for submissions – a chance to win £150!

You can also read my answers to the ‘Quick and Quirky Questions’ . All true!

Dear Mr Swinney                                                                                                                                                          Re the Scots Leid Policie, 2015

Gaelic is deein oot                                                                                                                                      an if we dinnae dae summat                                                                                                                           Scots will gan the same wey                                                                                                                               so I’m jeein ye oan tae yaise it.

The Scots Leid Policie                                                                                                                          promist a mair hiech profile                                                                                                                         bit in the midst o awthin else                                                                                                                                   it seems tae hae tummeled doon.

Siller wis pit intae it

bit it needs a bit mair proddin

tae ‘heise it up an push it forrit.’

Mair yuis o Scots is a must.

Fur ower lang we’ve allooed

oor tongue to be haudin doon,

skelpit aboot, intil a messin,

neither yin thing nor anither.

As lang as hunners o us

spik it, then shairly it’s faisible

tae see it as ‘a worthy and well way.’
tae keep oor leid livin.

It’s the weans we maun lippan oan.

The haudback is that inglis is spoke

aw ower and fowk ur less minfu

o bletherin in their naitril tongue.

Micht I pit forrit that mair eddication

is fell needit, an it cud be dun

as lang as eneuch o us want it.

so come oan – ie us oor voice.

Quotations from Scots Leid Policie, 2015 ‘heise it up an push it forrit.’and ‘a worthie and weel way’
the ‘heise…

By Ann MacKinnon

Dear Mother Earth

We are writing in response to recent worrying events, Things are getting out of hand.

As you know, from the God itself, and well established in the legally binding text of Genesis 1, we were given dominion over you; the fish of the sea … the fowl in the air… the cattle… every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth… herb bearing seed… and so on.

It has become apparent that you do not understand what dominion means. The plants, limited to instinctive responses only, have nothing to say on the matter. Even the so-called higher order animals are, and we mean this in the kindest possible way, unsuitable for the task of maintaining order: the brutal chimps, the brainless lumps of whales (if we see another one on the telly with the fifth columnist Attenborough…)

As immediate actions, we demand that you stop the typhoons, the melting of the ice, the disease, the droughts, the floods. They only add to our human burden: this is why we were given dominion – you cannot be trusted to take right and proper care of us as you should.

Going forward, leave it to us to determine the best course of action. Once we’ve made sure that the economy is stable enough to spare the extra cash, we will come back to you with a draft plan.

In the meantime, and in the spirit of partnership that we want to develop, we say to you: cease and desist.

And please do not worry, we have it all in hand. We have dominion.

Sincerely yours,

(add your name)

By Charlie Gracie

Mary Irvine, Balloch Open Mic Newsletter, 29 April, 2021

Balloch Open Mic Mental Health Week – May 2021
Balloch Open Mic Blog: ‘To whom it may concern –’

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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