Even God Gets Writers Block …

Even God Gets Writers Block …

And – here’s a random thought …

Writer’s Block is just God’s way of trying to keep the Ten Commandments in Amazon’s Bestsellers Rankings.

Irvine Welsh …

Irvine Welsh …

Scottish novelist, playwright and short story writer Irvine Welsh is best known for his novel Trainspotting, which was later made into a film of the same name. His work is characterised by a raw Scots dialect and brutal depiction of Edinburgh life. He has also written plays and screenplays, and directed several short films.

In an interview with New York Times Style Magazine in 2016 for their A Writer’s Room series he spoke about his home office in Chicago.

I grew up in a small rabbit hutch of an apartment in the kind of municipal housing district that they called “projects” in the U.S. but are more tellingly referred to as “schemes” in Scotland. There was no room for bookshelves, so n the absence of somewhere to permanently reside, books tended to transition through our house and around the scheme. As a result, I like to have books about to delve into to inspire me; sometimes just a glance at the spine of a certain work will help.

My workspace in my Chicago home is usually ordered when I begin a project, but it descends into a mess of Post-it notes, photographs and articles stuck on the walls by the time I’m finished. You’re catching me quite early on in the game here. Music is very important in my writing. I have a playlist for each character and usually end up with a mixtape for every novel. Sometimes I get carried away and forget to write, but it’s never wasted, as something always resurfaces from my binges.

The space itself is really four areas: a library-type room with a large desk I can cover with a manuscript; an alcove with my decks and music; a smaller office with a whiteboard and reference books; and a balcony where I can sit outside and write in the sun, counting my blessings that I don’t have a real job to do. As much as I like this place, I try not to get too attached to it, and I therefore do a lot of work in coffee shops and on public transit. It’s important for me to be able to write anywhere and not get too precious about trying to chase the fool’s gold of optimum conditions.

My Sunday Poem … #23

1951 Club

My Sunday Poem … #23

Some weeks ago I published a two verse poem on here called At Turnebyry in Starlight. It was inspired by the current debate over Scottish Independence. Seeming incomplete, I have since lengthened the poem to five verses. It can be set to the ancient tune of Slane, as in the hymn ‘Be Thou My Vision’. Hopefully it will journey far and wide. Scotland will prevail, independent or no. May hope always dwell in peaceful hearts.

At Turnebyry in Starlight

At Turnebyry in starlight a warrior stood,
A King for all Scotland, a soldier for good.
With eyes looking landwards, his thoughts they did turn
To Freedom won dearly at yon Bannockburn.

Would I have the courage to stand in his stead,
Where hundreds have fallen and thousands have bled.
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Fair Caledonia, the bravest of all.

The pipes they…

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I’m writing a book …

I’m writing a book …

Two men are talking in a pub. One says: “I’m writing a book.” The other says: “Neither am I.”

Peter Cook (1937~1995) – actor, satirist, writer and comedian.

The street scene

You really should read this. Hey … take a walk on the wild side. 😀🌞

Tallis Steelyard


It has to be admitted that there are streets where one has to watch every direction at once lest somebody pick that particular moment to cast out of an upstairs window the contents of a chamber pot, the results of an unsuccessful culinary experiment, or a faithless spouse.

There are other streets where you run the risk of being assailed by footpads, extortioners, those who insist with spurious sincerity that they are collecting for some worthy cause, or the weary retailers of spurious affection.

Ropewalk isn’t like that. It is busy, one of the arteries of a great city, and all life is there. If you wish to stand and watch the world go by, pick your spot with extreme care lest you be run down or built over. Whenever I walk down the street I feel a surge of energy, any verses that come to me have a faster…

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I, Writer … #17

I, Writer … #17

Much of a dayness (Part Two)

(Click here for Part 1 in case you missed it)

So here I am back at the table tapping this post on to my Kindle notepad. It’s almost 2 pm. and the wind sounds pretty wild out there. I always seem to hit a tiredness barrier at this time of day. Sometimes I just go and lie down for an hour in graceful surrender. Or I may go out for a walk and try to blow the cobwebs away.

Our cottage is situated in the beautiful village of Turnberry on the west coast of Scotland. It’s only a few minutes walk from the beach. Tell you what. I’m going for a stroll. Why don’t you come along and I’ll show you around.

This is the view from just outside the cottage. There’s usually cows and sheep grazing in the field opposite. Just cows today though. Beyond the dunes is the beach. Maybe the sheep have gone in for a quick dip.

This little path leads to the sea. I feel a poem coming on.

I must go down to the loo again
To the lonely loo and the flush
And all I ask is a nice warm seat
And a spikey toilet brush

Ah, they don’t write ’em like that anymore.

Half way down the path we are always greeted by a horse. So we give him a pat and a few handfuls of grass. He is very friendly. We don’t know his name as yet. But, if I had to go through the desert on a horse with no name, I would definitely choose this delightful fellow. I am reliably informed that ‘grass’ is actually drug slang for cannabis and ‘horse’ is a term for heroin. But, for the avoidance of doubt, in this particular neck of the woods, grass is grass and a horse is a horse. And a tax return is something you rip up and throw in a bin.

This is Turnberry Beach. Mainly folk walking their dogs come here plus some tourists. We’re heading for the lighthouse in the distance.

Here I am adopting my favourite windswept and philosophical pose. My wife has another name for it. Scruffy.

This is my favourite part of the beach. The island on the left is called Ailsa Craig. It is volcanic in origin. It has a long and fascinating history and  I really must tell you about it one day.

A little climb up and we can see Turnberry Point Lighthouse. It was designed in 1873 by brothers Thomas & David Stevenson. They designed over thirty lighthouses in and around Scotland. Thomas Stevenson also had a son, Robert Louis Stevenson who was the author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Close by the lighthouse are the fragmentary ruins of Turnberry Castle, birthplace and childhood home of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland.

During both World Wars, an aerodrome was constructed at Turnberry and used  to train pilots in the arts of aerial gunnery and combat. I love this picture of a squadron of Sopwith Camels flying past Turnberry Point Lighthouse in 1917.

Turnberry is also very famous for its golf courses and many world-class tournaments have been held here. Personally, I really can’t see the point of the game. Maybe I should give it a go, but not at £350 a round, which is what they currently charge here.

Legend has it that, in the Summer of 1297, Robert the Bruce played a round of golf here on this very course with his good friend Sir William Wallace. They were about to tee off when, without warning, the English King Edward arrived with his army. He ordered his archers to release a hail of arrows before sending in his heavy cavalry which chewed up the playing surface something awful. History doesn’t record what happened next. Probably something like …

BRUCE: Hey Edward. Bugger off back to England ye big hairy jessie.
EDWARD: No. I am going to take over your entire porridge factory.
WALLACE: You and whose army!
EDWARD: Well, my army actually.
WALLACE: Fair point.
EDWARD: Look. I feel a bit bad about disturbing your game. So can I suggest we have a battle somewhere.
BRUCE: That’s a great idea Ed. Let’s meet at Bannockburn in June 1314.
EDWARD: I’ll just have a look in my diary. Yes, that’s good for me.
BRUCE: Excellent. I’ll get my people to talk to your people and they can iron out the details.
EDWARD: Well, I’ll be off then. Cheery bye.
BRUCE: Hey Wallace! Did you just kick your ball closer to the hole while I was chatting to Ed ?
WALLACE: Er … No. Are you suggesting that I was cheating.
WALLACE: You’re asking for a hammering ya wee scunner.
BRUCE: Go boil yer arse ya glakit bastard.

It is said that the Bruce’s ghost haunts Turnberry golf course to this very day. So anyway. I cut across the green behind a crowd of lunatics and head for home. Ah, I have one more treat for you.

Yes, Turnberry is also the location of the Trump Turnberry Hotel & Golf Resort. It is a magnificent building dating back to 1906. I haven’t seen our Donald here recently. We are saving up to go and buy a glass of tonic water and a packet of pork scratchings  in the bar.

Well, that’s us back at our wee cottage safe and sound. Hope very much you enjoyed the stroll. I bid you a fond farewell and hope to see you again very soon.


Celebrating Book Lovers Day

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Originally posted on University of Glasgow Library:
Today, August 9th, is Book Lovers Day – an opportunity to indulge in everything we love about books and a good read… Here in Archives & Special Collections we are, obviously, very partial…