Banned Books, Pseudonyms and a Secret Magazine

“Secrets, silent, stony, sit in the dark palaces of both our hearts: secrets weary of their tyranny: tyrants willing to be dethroned.” James Joyce, Ulysses Maybe it's  a symptom of living in almost certain safety, to find the idea of banned books romantic. Imagine: the soft crackling of a paper bag containing a hard-back first... Continue Reading →

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The Introvert’s Guide to Disappearing

Important Daily Activities: An Incomplete List Make coffee. Dress. Neglect to check mirror for errors made while dressing. Check Facebook, Instagram, What’s App, news websites and Twitter. Stare out of window at high rises. Wonder if anyone is looking at me. Conclude: no. Feel tired. Download a Taylor Swift song. Feel guilty but invigorated. Arrive... Continue Reading →

Islands and Books and Winter

In the winter of 2009, I spent four days in the dark windswept wilds of Shetland. Without any phone signal or internet, I was reduced to digging my book out of my bag.  Luckily, that book was Lanark by Alistair Gray. It was just what was needed. It reminded me of the days when I... Continue Reading →

Hygge Will Get You Through This Winter

The long, dark nights are beginning. The Scottish winter demands effort and thoughtfulness, to get through it successfully to the other side. So I’ve been writing lists (‘make cookies. Wash clothes and self’) and making plans to go to the pub now and then. These things may seem small and lame. The lack of grandiose... Continue Reading →

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