Balloch Open Mic Blog: Interview with Evelyn Lawrie
‘Gie Me a Word’
Mary Irvine interviews debut author and regular supporter of Balloch Open Mic, Evelyn Lawrie.
Where were you born/brought up?
I was born and brought up in Bonhill in 1936. I went to Bonhill Primary and then the Vale of Leven Academy. Christie Primary School, in Middleton Street, was the original Academy. I then attended the West of Scotland Commercial College in Pitt Street, Glasgow. That building was eventually taken over by the police.
Have you lived in this area all your life?
Yes. I married a local man and had three children.
When did you start writing?
I did office work for 48 years. When I retired I decided I would like to take up creative writing as a hobby. I went along to the Community Centre in Alexandria and joined the Leven Litts writers. I was asked if I wrote prose or poetry. It was quite daunting as at I hadn’t written anything since my last college essay. I did sign up for an online creative writing course which covered all genres. I had a few articles and short stories published during that time.
Have you always written poetry ?
No, at first I wrote both prose and poetry. I still do but decided, a few years ago, I would like to concentrate on poetry, so I signed up for another online course which concentrated on poetry.
How did the title of the book emerge?
Every week, at the Leven Litts, a ‘prompt’ word was given. A piece of writing had to be produced for the next meeting. Hence the title: ‘Gie me a Word.’
How do you feel about having a book of poetry published (in your more mature years!)?
Relief and it’s something for the kids.
This eclectic mix of poetry by Alexandria resident, Evelyn Lawrie, reflects the experience and observation of a lifetime. There is no, one connecting theme, as in many anthologies, rather the thoughts and responses, by the author, to the world at large. Particularly poignant are the cathartic poems, ‘Like a Thief in the Night’ and ‘If Only’, poems which emerged from the experience of watching a husband slowly retreating into his own world of dementia, leaving behind a wife who no longer recognises the person he once was. But the other side of the coin reveals the playful side of the author in poems such as ‘Tick Tock’ and ‘The Common Cold’. A love of nature shines through in ‘Scoop for Spy Boulder’ and ‘Mother Nature’, amongst others. Days of yore are not neglected either with ‘Wash Day’ evoking an age past but not yet forgotten. A particular favourite of mine is the villanelle ‘Survivor’, but a beautiful, well-crafted poem to which I keep returning is ‘A Westward View at Sunrise’.
A WESTWARD VIEW AT SUNRISE
She stands darkened by night,
a silhouette against slate.
Moon a shadow slips away,
telling the sun will return.
Black lace held high
on arms outstretched
reaching from a slender body,
she beckons towards the horizon.
Pink glow deepens,
paints the landscape.
Distant trees turn to bronze then gold,
slate becomes azure.
Another summer day is born.
The silver birch has cast her evening gown,
her summer green leaves
nod gently to the lawn below.
The Book Launch
The launch of the book takes place at the Balloch Library on December 18th at 10.30 a.m. Due to Covid restrictions on numbers it will be invitation only. If interested in attending please contact www.neetahbooks.com. This is also the website from which the book may be bought.
Mary Irvine, November 2021
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