What I Did On My Holidays…

No beach for me!

Most people choose to go somewhere nice on holiday.  Somewhere sunny;  somewhere they  can lie around and do not much more than give themselves a healthy radiation dose.  I chose to go to school.

I’ve spent nearly three weeks here.   I have to say that it’s been one of the best couple of weeks I’ve spent being productive in my life.  I met amazing people and made new friends.  And it was only 5 minutes from my  door.  If you fancy doing a general  English course (with a Creative Writing element) then I recommend SUISS.   The lectures were generally good, the tutors excellent and I got to spend a lot of time doing cultural events (mostly the book festival).  In addition the evening events included visits from notable literary figures and the occasional party.


Student Reading; I was surprised at the general quality of the writing on display.  Just about everyone got up and read something.  I acquired a reputation for doing my own thing because I got up and just read out an entire short story instead of sticking to the billed 5 minutes each.  (Oops)

Leonitia Flynne.  Excellent Irish poet.  She’s also very funny and comes across as a genuine and approachable person.  She also gave a lecture on poetry that was quite interesting.

John Burnside.   Great Fife poet.  He read some poetry and an excerpt from one of his memoirs.  A very interesting man with a great sense of humour.

Michael Rosen; ex Childrens laureate.  I want him to be my dad.  He was supposed to do a masterclass in writing for children but we just wanted to hear him tell bedtime stories.

In addition to this I got to see Iain Banks, Carol Ann Duffy and Gary Younge at the book festival.

I miss everyone who I became friends with.  I miss the time I spent learning again.  I feel woken up and I am now looking at ways I can get published.

It’s quiet in here…

It’s been a busy busy month. It’s not just the Edinburgh Festival but it’s also writing time – I am on a Creative Writing course.  My time seems to consistently belong to someone else.

Fun at the Fringe

Here I am in Edinburgh in the middle of the world’s biggest arts festival. Everyone, it seems, is here. And no one is local so I can’t walk down the street without being constantly asked where the comedy midget stripper show is.  Thankfully I don’t need to bother doing much research (no comedy asking around for me) because I have a friend who helps organise shows at one of the biggest venues:  Assembly.   I was offered some tickets and I thought it would be churlish to say no.  I picked 3 shows:

Simon Callow

This man is made of Shakespeare.  If you were to cut him he would actually bleed the tempest.  I enjoyed his show but I was constantly distracted by water dripping from the ceiling.  Mr Callow ignored these and told the story of Shakespeare’s life using excerpts from his various plays.  Highly recommended.


I think the best way to describe this is::  Teutonic-Slapstick-Comedy-Sketch show – featuring opera… and baths.  I enjoyed this but if they’re taking feedback I’d say less opera and more gymnastics or sundry circus acts.  The men were very buff and every time they took their tops off woman literally screamed with pleasure; which is ok because we males got to look at the rather attractive female dancers.  Family fun – something for everyone.  Cautiously recommended.

Tripod Vs The Dragon.

I don’t normally like musical comedy but if you’re going to have 3 geeks (and attractive female singer as their foil) sprinkle in hardcore geek references and I am their.


Creative Writing

As for the writing, it’s going well. It’s a little odd because I am non-residential and consequently I don’t really feel part of the main group.  I sort-of wander in and out like some sort of lost person.  It’s a very strange experience.  If I ever do something like this again I think I will go elsewhere and make sure I stay on site with all the rest of the students.

Still they seem like a nice bunch.