13 Sep 2014

Life is enriched by poetry and crime.

So, the last entry was about the tangle of threads that is currently my grandson’s path through my personal tapestry. Worrying, but also impressive as I have been able to get glimpses of the fine man he will eventually be.

My own activities have been rich but thankfully less complicated. A neighbouring town has an annual ‘Book and Arts Festival.’ over the last ten years or so it has grown steadily until it is able to attract an impressive number of known writers and artists. I’ve rarely been to any of the events, was once involved to the extent of organising a secondhand bookdealer’s pop-up shop (in the days before pop-up shops were given that name.)  That enterprise was successful (especially for me!) although it disjointed the nose of the local bookshop owner at the time although he specialised in new books. Sigh! We weren’t invited back. 

The bookshop owner has changed and the present incumbent (female) is supportive of any literary project so, although she isn’t a fan of poetry, once a month after regular opening hours she reopens her doors for a poetry group. This group formed the core of a fringe event to the main festival: ‘Bards in the Bookshop.’ 

My good friend and stunning poet, Eileen Carney-Hulme, started the week with a reading last Monday. Mid morning three of us hit Nairn’s best restaurant for coffee and scones. At lunch time we walked up to the bookshop where Eileen did her reading beautifully, then, scooping up a couple more poetry-loving friends we went back to the same watering hole for soup and wine. This pattern was repeated, for me three days in a row, four days for some, until other events took over (the Callander Poetry Weekend for my friends, other things for me). The readings continued until Saturday, the last day of the festival. 

On that last festival day I spent the afternoon listening to three crime writers talking about their craft. The three hour program was accompanied by wine lavishly served out in the intervals. Heaven! The writer’s were Malcolm Mackay (ridiculously young Hebridean author, ridiculously good), Alex Gray, and Ann Cleeves whose ‘Vera’ series I am addicted to and whose latest series set in the Shetlands I also find irresistible. By the end of it I wanted to rush off to form a crime-lovers reading group.