Glasgow Writer: James Connarty
James Connarty was born in Bellshill, grew up in Coatbridge and now lives in Wishaw. He would be telling lies if he said he was a Glasgow writer, although he has written in and about the city. James graduated from Strathclyde University with an honours degree in English Literature in the mid 90s and has worked as a teacher for twenty years. He started creative writing classes at Glasgow University eight years ago. His writing has previously appeared in Thi Wurd magazine, the collection entitled Tales from a Cancelled Country and Pat’s Guide to the West End.
James is part of the Ten Writers Telling Lies Project – where ten of Glasgow’s most talented writers have got together with the musician Jim Byrne, to produce a book and CD. The product will be launched in 2017.
On Saturday it will be her birthday, the day before Valentines. I haven’t bought a card in fifteen years. Where would I send it? I posted a Christmas card through the door at the last address I had for her. It was out in the east end, one of those ones with just the two flats. Hers was 8a. The door faced out onto the street, with a small hallway that meant I had to step inside and almost kneel on the tiles to get the envelope through the letterbox. I didn’t know what I’d say if she came out, or someone else did. The letterbox closed with a snap, but I couldn’t see anyone through the glass. I probably waited there longer than I should have. I was already regretting the letter I’d put in with the card. I stood up, got in the car and drove home, feeling like I’d taken a chance.
Sam’s stopped outside the card shop. He’s looking in the window, holding the handlebars of his bike. Waiting on me. Last year I’d have been ahead of him, probably pushing the bike too. We’ve been down the park all afternoon and the chill has worked its way deep into me. My heart is sore. I can’t keep up with him now. Clearly I’m not myself yet.
Finally, he says. He swings his leg over the bike seat.
Hold on, I tell him. I’m going to stop a minute.
I sit against a bollard and he takes off on his bike, legs going like short pistons, shooting away up the hill. I’m going to shout, tell him not to go on any roads, but he turns before the top of the street and starts weaving in and out of the bollards, before riding round the precinct in a big, lazy circle. He’s not getting in anyone’s way. I look in the window at the cupid dangling from a string, twirling like a weather-vane, his arrow keeps spinning round.
I wonder if Sam was looking for a Valentines card. I’ve seen him make them for his mum before, the glitter getting tidier and the kisses getting smaller every year. He’s eleven now – he doesn’t have a girlfriend yet but it’s only a matter of time. My Mum says he told her he was thinking of asking out a wee girl from his class. He wanted to take her out for a meal. I was thinking Di Maggios, Gran – he told my Mum. When she suggested McDonalds might be a better idea he said, do you think she’ll think I’m immature if I get a happy meal?
This section: writers
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