Saturday, February 28, 2015

An Outing for Silver Skin

It seemed like such a good idea at the time - bring the proof copy of Silver Skin to the National Museum of Scotland and take some amazing photographs of it with the carved stones from Skara Brae.  I imagined something with reflections in the glass and a ghostly image of me in there somewhere looking, well, ghostly.  Turns out neither the lighting nor my camera were up to the job.  The gallery that has the Skara Brae stones is beautiful, wonderful, atmospheric - and dark.  Maybe with a tripod and a shedload more know-how than I have, something could have been achieved, but as it was ... not so much.  

So I had a bash at balancing the book on the Paolozzi exhibition cases in the outer area, and there, as you can see, it was too bright!  (That's my excuse ...)   

Never mind - for a first book-and-camera outing it was at least fun. And that's a bracelet from Skara Brae, anyway! 

Now where should I try next ...? 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday I was over on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure, talking about some of the difficult decisions writers face when they have to go out into the world.  I called it Problems of Presentation and it's a issue of nightmare proportions for people who mostly live in pjs, slippers and inside their heads.

So today I though I'd like to celebrate that last bit - the living inside your head bit - 

Food for thought, eh?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Until only the mountain remains - writing inspired by Christopher Orr

Last week I read at an event in the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh.  The exhibition was called The Beguiled Eye and the artist was Christopher Orr.  (There's a short Vimeo video about Christopher here - an interesting guy.)  There was an open call for written responses and this was mine -

Darkness Visible painted by Christopher Orr (2006)

Looking at
you looking at
the stance says it all 
that slight leaning forward
the way your front foot begins to slide
the way the stripes creep over your shoulders
ready to head past your head 
all strangely quiet
not a sucking sound to be heard
or are there no other senses left?
just sight
just watching
the disappearing of light
the patient symmetry of the circle

looking at
you looking at
me tourist to you
who are tourist to
the road to hell's
black hole
not noticing
the traffic is one way

me noticing
you not noticing
me not noticing
the gravity of our situation.

There's a website or the written responses now called Until Only the Mountain Remains *- and here's an entirely unbiased recommendation - The Caretaker ** by writer son Callum Heitler.  Not to mention his story The Man Who Made the Weather which can be found in New Writing Dundee 8, out now.  He gave a reading at the launch last week (reported on STV).  All in all, pretty good going for our house!

* which is a quote from a poem by Li Bai (701-762) - I had to look it up, but I'm glad I did -

The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

** inspired by this painting:

Saturday, February 07, 2015

And My Object Is ...

She's called "The Foundling Girl" (1871) by David Watson Stevenson and I've blogged about how I met her on The History Girls - challenged and chuffed in equal measure!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Where I Am This Weekend

(The chapel of the Foundling Hospital 
as drawn by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin 
for Ackermann's Microcosm of London (1808-11))

I'm In London.*  And why?  Because this is the beginning of another wonderful 26** project, this time at the Foundling Museum, called "26 Pairs of Eyes: Looking at the Overlooked".  Writers will be randomly paired with objects chosen from the Museum by the staff, and asked to write a 62 word response.  There'll be a launch and display at the Museum later in the year.

And what will my object be?  I'll let you know ...

* You need to remember that's a BIG deal for me!
** I can't put a link to their website because it's offline being updated at the moment, but you'll have heard me rabbitting on about their excellence plenty of times before.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Silver Skin's First Review!

Jamie Harris, InternSilver-Skin
Silverskin by Joan Lennon
"The premise alone was enough to rope me in, and it’s no mean feat to collide a brilliantly imaginative scientific future with Stone Age Scotland. The characters are superb and utterly human, the plot tears along at a breakneck pace, and all the way through there’s that little element of the supernatural woven in that keeps you on your toes. It’s just one of those books that does everything right. It finds that elusive sweet spot where, while it is aimed at a young adult readership, it is mature and intriguing enough to pull in older readers too. Simply put, this is a must for anyone who enjoys a cracking good adventure!"

Thanks Jamie - you've made my day!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Orkney on My Mind

Three years ago it was still just an obsession ...

And now the uncorrected proofs of Silver Skin are on their way - see Birlinn's shiny packages HERE!