Implicit in my writing plan for the year (which I wrote about in this post back in January), was a desire to focus less on social media and more on the other writing I could send out into the world. As engaging as social media is, events towards the end of last year made me wonder about the kind of validation that feels important to me – and to consider if my time could be better spent elsewhere. I decided to focus my energies on writing for books, blog articles, competitions and submissions, and to direct more attention towards my readers’ club newsletter. As someone who can spend thirty or more minutes crafting a carefully-worded Instagram caption, this – and the addition of a new job into the equation – means that the social media related to my writing is now something of a famine or a feast. On the upside, two pieces of work I’ve been developing in the background are now about to come to fruition – the first is Finn and Friends, a new children’s book I’ve co-authored for the John O’Groats Development Trust (read more in this blog post).
The other is an article about to be published in Fieldfare magazine – an independent print journal which aligns with many of my own values in terms of connection to place.
My contribution to the journal, Stones of the Sky, is a meditation on transience and durability set against the backdrop of Pablo Neruda poetry etched onto a reef here in Caithness. These days I think very carefully about where I submit writing to, having become acutely aware of the damage that can be inflicted through superficial narratives of place. Fieldfare seems like the perfect home for my piece, which incidentally, is a personal favourite amongst the suite of articles I’ve written.
‘The past wanders this place, reminding us of who we are, where we come from. Ruins dot the landscape like echoes. Time turns both the castle and the cottage into dust. History stands beside us, in a step over a stile, or on a bend in the windswept coastline. We can walk into it, over it, through it. It is fragile, and sometimes so quiet we barely know it’s there.’
Read more in issue two of Fieldfare (themed Transience), which is now available for pre-order. You can order your own copy, and catch up on issue one here.