We are delighted to welcome our hardworking membership secretary Marie-Therese Taylor as our Featured Writer and Committee Member. For many people Marie-Therese will be their first point of contact with the Federation so she has a key role in making people feel welcome which she does admirably. Marie writes with a wry humour and charm which makes her voice very distinctive as you can see in her take on her own writing life, on the FWS and in her poignant, tenderly humorous poem Really below.
Marie-Therese, pictured courtesy of Stanza, was a librarian in Edinburgh, Fife and the North East of Scotland, and now lives in Glasgow. Her poems and short stories have appeared in print and online in Northwords Now, The Glasgow Review of Books, The Lake, and Football Memories, and other publications.
She has four children who still talk to her, and she still interrupts. Since her hip operation, she no longer walks with an iambic stride, but enjoys this and other beats in poetry.
Marie writes of the FWS and her role in it:
At primary school I expressed my grief for the untimely death of my dog in verse, a painfully pedestrian piece in rhyming couplets entitled The Death of Miel. A drama teacher snatched my poem and had it published. Embarrassment followed, and until a few years ago I kept my jottings to myself. A conversation with a friend lead me to the Federation of Writers Scotland, and with encouragement and informed, practical advice, I have enjoyed the benefits of finding other writers in writing groups, classes and opportunities for publication.
I have been Membership Secretary since July 2017. It’s a very rewarding role in an organisation which, as many of you know, supports writers through national events, competitions, workshops and networking opportunities.
At the moment our membership stands at just under 1100. This year we have added over 30 new members, and the area of our reach is expanding. The Committee meets several times a year, but much of our communication is by email, so if you are considering joining the committee, please do not let distance from the central belt deter you.
We have members at all stages of their writing careers from absolute beginners to best sellers. From time to time, more experienced authors offer their expertise to members who wish to learn from them. Our next such event will be on April 21st when Colin Will will lead a workshop on Short Story Writing [see under FWS News above].
The Federation promotes all the languages of Scotland. We are planning to bring more events and writing opportunities to the North and those writing in Gaelic. Several members write proudly in Doric and are widely published and celebrated in national competitions. The Federation is evolving in many interesting ways, always in response to the wishes of the members, so it is important to hear what these wishes are. Please let us know of any areas in which you would like to see the Federation work for you.
You have no idea how much
I miss my brother and the way
he made the worried years easy
the comfort of knowing everything
would always be just fine
and the way I could count on him to find me
wherever I was hiding – or waiting
on some unlit street too late
at night for my own good
and how he kept my secrets from our folks
though sometimes I suspect he had a laugh
with the boys telling stories
of what I’d been up to although half the time
he knew I just made them up
[Really first appeared in Algebra of Owls, January 2017]
©Marie-Therese Taylor 2017