Mary Irvine’s Blog: A Year to Remember – or forget..
As 2020 is rapidly coming to a close I decided to take stock of what I’ve actually done during the year.
It Started Well
The year started well. An earlier blog described my visit to friends down south, with trips to two London exhibitions and meeting up with Greek ex-students. My diary was filling up quite nicely with events, talks, the Aye Write festival. 2020 was obviously going to be a busy year. Or so it seemed at the time. There were rumours of a new type of ‘flu but wasn’t there a new strain every year. But then I heard of a serious ‘cluster’ located in the Westminster area. Oh dear, that was where I’d met Dimitris. We’d hugged and kissed (Greek fashion). We’d eaten a meal in a VERY crowded pub in Westminster – cheek by jowl. And I’d used the tube for the journey. I decided to stay in for two weeks. Then the Aye Write was cancelled and we were all in ‘Lockdown’. My son arranged shopping, collected prescriptions. This was serious.
Solitude – Light and Shade
I began to cross out events in my diary which soon became totally blank as postponed became cancelled. I bullied the Mackintosh Group of writers into producing a booklet on the theme of ‘Isolation’. It was not to be an all ‘gloom and doom’ affair. The result was ‘Solitude – Light and Shade’. It proved to be far from a grim lamentation; more a positive look at being alone, or isolated, sometimes for reasons other than the virus. This collection of poetry and prose is a reminder of the amazing positivity and bravery of people rather than their fragility, and a celebration of the spontaneous upsurge of kindness that lies within us in difficult times. The pieces are varied, reflecting the versatility of the group.
The situation eased somewhat in the summer so I was able to go for a socially distanced coffee, even once a similarly distanced meal out but mostly was still ‘confined’. What to do? I decided to produce Book 5 of ‘Anne and Mary’s Local Tales’. Anne and I agreed our normal outlets were closed to us but getting the books ready would be a positive move. All profits from these books go to the Beatson Cancer Charity
Autumn arrived and there was still no sign of time off for good behaviour. I gave in and allowed my son to provide me with a T.V., my first since returning to the U.K. in 2006. I was able to watch the semi-finals of the Rugby League Challenge Cup. Unfortunately my team, Hull F.C., were knocked out but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the final – a great game.
Mostly I watch history documentaries and am very much into Scandinavian crime. I was also pleased I could access CNN to watch the machinations of U.S. politics, especially the recent election. My cardinal rule for watching T.V. is ‘No day-time watching’.
Apart from an occasional walk November was a total non-event unless you count an M.O.T. The car was collected, tested and returned without my involvement, apart from paying over the ‘phone. Days were filled with helping proof-read and format Catriona Malan’s booklet ‘Daftness and Doggerel’. Well known for her serious poems reflecting her keen and incisive observation, she stepped out of this approach to life (poetically speaking!), revealing a lighter side to her poetry. Written in a variety of poetic forms including traditional ballad style and limericks Catriona says she hopes her humour doesn’t offend but is accepted as written in good spirit, and may even prompt a smile or two at a time when life is not as simple or easy as it should be. The Christmas section is particularly recommended. Read ‘Nick’ and ‘The Anti-Santa Song’ for a new look at the elderly gentleman but don’t let the we’ans read them. ALL proceeds go to the local Alzheimer Resource Centre, Helensburgh.
The three books mentioned above are all available at £3 each (inc. p/p). Contact by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Wind Whispers Her Name
2020 also saw my novel ‘The Wind Whispers Her Name’ published in audio. Although I would have preferred a male reader Deborah balm did a very good job. I have some free codes for the audio book which I haven’t used so thought it would be a gesture to give them away in December. The codes can be used in G.B. or U.S.A. so if you would like one please state which country you want. Contact by email: email@example.com
Christmas is on the horizon, a vaccine is promised, so maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel after all. In the meantime, I’m staying safe. Hope you are too.
Mary Irvine, December 3, 2020
- Women’s Library – In Conversation with Paria Goodarzi
- Bloody Scotland 2021 McIlvanney Prize Long List Announced
- Bungalow Cafe at Mother India, Kelvingrove, Glasgow
- The Owner of the Sea – Richard Price readings and discussion
- Moving Image Archive, National Library of Scotland, Kelvin Hall
- Glasgow Writers: Tom Leonard
- Bernard MacLaverty: Glasgow Writer
- Janet Paisley: Scottish Author, Poet and Playwright
- Glasgow Writer: Samina Chaudry
- Graeme Macrae Burnet – Glasgow Writer
- Glasgow Writers: Willy Maley
- Glasgow Writers: Alistair Braidwood – Scots Whay Hae!
- Glasgow Writers: Theresa Talbot
- Glasgow Writers: Pauline Lynch
- Vinicombe Street Gala 2021
- Touring Scotland – Pop Up Opera 2021
- Scottish Books Long Weekend
- Meet the Poet: Marcus Slease & Colin Herd
- Al Fresco Dining Glasgow West End
- Balloch Open Mic on Zoom