Featured Writer -May McLeod (08/09/2015)

A. C. Clarke writes: I am delighted to welcome May McLeod as our featured writer and Committee member. May recently joined the FWS Committee, along with Rose Ritchie, as events convenors for Edinburgh and we are delighted at how quickly, efficiently and successfully they have got events going, a boon for our many members in Edinburgh and its environs.  But May is a fine poet as well as an active Committee members, as her poem An Affair with Silence below, giving an unusual take on a subject not often treated in poetry, well demonstrates.

May writes of herself: What inspires me to write?

Life, I guess, and its complexities. It creates a diary of my life in the same way a photograph album captures experiences.

My life has been colourful and interesting lending itself to thought provoking and moody form.

I don’t hold back, nonetheless have been complimented on my courage to voice controversial subjects: child protection, domestic abuse, and sensitive or personal topics intermingled with eroticism.

As a life model in Marcelle House, Alloa, I first read at an open mic session which led to writing a book of poetry complimented by significant artwork!

and of her role on the FWS Committee

I was introduced to Etta Dunn by Karen Strang, as a potential publisher for the book that I had written and was illustrated by Karen Strang, David Fagan and Suzanne Williams; artists at Marcelle House, Alloa.

Etta accepted the book and we are now in the process of preparing it for publication; hopefully for December 2015. This is how I was introduced to the Federation of Writers for Scotland (FWS).

Etta nominated me for the Edinburgh Events Convenor at the last AGM and Rose Fraser Ritchie, who has a wealth of knowledge about the writers of Scotland and organising events, was invited to join me in this role. Rose organises the Red Room events in the Constitution Bar in Leith. My own experience of organising events is in the Argentine tango world.

Rose and I organised our first FWS event in The Merlin Hotel, Morningside, Edinburgh on August 24th which created a great deal of interest. We now plan to run an open mic event monthly in the same venue.

The FWS offers its members a great service: the social aspect, writing competitions, and an events diary to name a few. Ultimately, it offers the writer a platform to perform.

Being a committee member has opened up new opportunities for Rose and me personally. We are committed to organising events where we offer five minutes on stage to sing, dance, play a musical instrument or just simply recite; and for the writer, new and well-versed, to be heard, and for an audience to appreciate how creative the writers of Scotland are.

The committee are a dedicated group of people who are writers themselves with a wealth of experience and knowledge who give their time freely to support the members of the Federation of Writer’s for Scotland.

An Affair with Silence

I strip

and lay bare my clothes,


from my flesh and bones.

An unrecognisable mound on the floor.

Letting go of my thoughts

I prepare my soul for reconciliation with silence

once again in the name of art.

My mouth is full of unspoken words.

At the end of each recline

I repatriate them with my tongue,

then I will tell you my news.

A model needs to have something.

I have uniqueness;

good bones and a beautiful bottom,

like a ripe peach,


and ready to fine line with a charcoal edge.

Why do I do this!

I am good at turning off

while the artist turns me on

and along the way

he captures me,

in our odd pairing.

What do I feel!

Thoughts of you sketching me –

my body talks to you,

in my duty and stillness,

our hearts beating above the silence.

I hold on to life

while my body poses indefinitely,


I repossess my form

and remove myself from this apparition.


but withdrawn …

The relationship ends.

© May MacLeod 2015

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