Contemplating my first Munro, Ben Wyvis

April: Memory and Desire

Apologies for the prolonged break in blogging: leaving one job, moving house, attending two hen parties, one birthday and three weddings have all been occupying spare moments over the last few weeks and months. But now I have a little more time on my hands, here is my first post of 2015!

Stove in the new flat: not a real woodburner, but at least that saves lugging logs up three flights of stairs

Stove in the new flat: not a real woodburner, but at least that saves lugging logs up three flights of stairs

As T.S. Eliot famously averred, April can indeed be the cruellest month. I’ve never been much of a fan of spring, with its unpredictable weather disappointing my expectations of sunshine, gambolling lambs and a profusion of flowers. I know it is a necessary transition, and I long for bright summer days and long warm evenings, but I much prefer autumn as a season of change. At that time of year everyone expects rain, storms and shortening days, so every bright spell is a lovely surprise and cause for unexpected celebrations.

Beautiful Victorian fireplace in the new flat

Beautiful Victorian fireplace in the new flat

But this spring is not so cruel: I am happy to have my memories and desires mixed this year. For it promises a new start: a move to a new flat in Edinburgh (complete with wood-burner style stove, beautiful fireplaces and lovely views), the chance to research and write about a writer whom I admire (details still hush-hush but I will be keeping you posted if this develops!), and who knows yet what else.

The summit of my first Munro, Ben Wyvis

The summit of my first Munro, Ben Wyvis

Something I am committing to now is writing more. Together with my friend over at Melissa’s Compass I am promising to write every day – if we don’t write, how can we be writers? I have always struggled to maintain a balance between work, research and creativity, but after reading this soul-strengthening interview with biographer Jenny Uglow I am aiming to make sure I spend some time writing, researching and working every week – and continuing all the other lovely things I do with my time too! Having scaled my first Munro in September, I am keen to make it a round 100 over the next 18 months: only 99 to go…

The Lunar Men by Jenny Uglow

Submission and recommendations

Submission and recommendations

Hurrah! I completed my draft first chapter (well, part of it) of Fame is the Monster in time for the Scottish Book Trust’s 5th September deadline. Now it’s just a case of playing the waiting game…

The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes

The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes

In the mean time I am going to start approaching publishers with the bare bones of Fame: having never done this before, I have no idea how it will pan out but I’ve read a few guides to non-fiction publication submissions and hopefully a couple of sympathetic ears will have a pre-submission listen too.

And by means of giving you something meaningful to read, here are a couple of links to my top three historical biographers, with links to reviews of what I’ve enjoyed most from their oeuvre:

Jenny Uglow – author of the brilliant Lunar Men, which looks at ‘the scientific club that formed the intellectual engine of the industrial revolution’.

Richard Holmes – penned The Age of Wonder, a book about ‘real heroes,  scientists like Joseph Banks, Humphrey Davy and William Herschel, who changed our understanding of the world forever’.

Kathleen Jones – bringing the women of the Wordsworth circle back into the public eye with A Passionate Sisterhood.