We are delighted to welcome Mo MacQuarrie to our occasion feature ‘At My Writing Desk’. Mo lives on the Isle of Skye and we at the FWS are always conscious of the difficulties of our more remote members in keeping in touch with the writing community. As Mo’s inspiring piece shows, you don’t have to live in the Central Belt to get involved!
When I retired from my job as a fraud investigator I decided to live in a place I had always loved which had connections to my ancestors, who came from the Isle of Barra, so I went to live in a remote part of the Isle of Skye. However, after ten years I started to realise – mostly due to the friends who nagged me – that my house near Duntulm a mile from the main road was perhaps a little too out of the way for someone of my advancing years living alone. Apart from my wonderful German Shepherd dog – Eilidh. So I decided to make a move to the big city of Balmacara which is wonderful apart from the traffic!
I had always loved writing but the event that really got me started was when I began to research my Mother’s family tree.She was a Foundling brought up by The Thomas Coram Association in London and given a name out of the phonebook. Eventually she was allowed to know her real name but, sadly, before she died there wasn’t the information on the net as there is now and I only managed to find she had two uncles. When I really got into genealogy some years later I found out a lot more and her tree included a few interesting characters that I wanted to write about. I am still working on this as well as a crime novel but I have found that my real forte is short story writing along with the occasional poem.
I attendas many literary events as my limited budget will allow and recently attended Aye Write in Glasgow. I had a great time there as I review books for the Bloody Scotland event so was ushered in to a few talks free of charge.The highlight for me was being able to see The fun Lovin’ Crime Writers as I hadn’t managed to see them at the Edinburgh Bookfest last year. I love a writer’s workshop and have been to ones with Shona Maclean, niece of the great Alistair, Janice Galloway and a few others. I am lucky in that The Reading Room Skye run these fairly often as well as talks by well known authors. I also went to Ian Rankin’s Thriller weekend in Cromarty, just for a couple of events, and ended up having lunch with the man himself!
I also run a small line dance class for my local community trust but that’s another story!
I run a small writing groupwith a few of my friends where we meet at each other’s houses about once a month. Whoever hosts the meeting decides on a theme for a short story to be written by all the attendees which has to be read out to everyone there. The stories I write are put on my blog https://wordsfromdifferentdirections.home.blog (see below) which is in its infancy, along with some of my poems and book reviews.
This year I have joined The Highland Literary Salon which meets in Inverness on the third Tuesday of every month so hope to be able to get over there quite often. Much easier from Balmacara than the northern tip of Skye and you can indulge in some retail therapy as well as a walk on the wonderful open space of the Culloden Battlefield!
© Mo MacQuarrie 2019