New Writing Scotland 30 (2012) edited by Carl MacDougal and Zoe Strachan. Life Writing (2009) Sara Haslam and Derek Neale
Posted by celticman on Thu, 22 Aug 2013
I have an interest in New Writing Scotland because I’m new, I’m Scottish and briefly had Zoe Strachan as a writing tutor. Whisper it, I also plan to send in something to New Writing Scotland 32 for consideration, or even publication. I’d say I won’t hold my breath, but that’s a cliché. Life writing is the ultimate cliché. You just live your life and write it down. What could be simpler? This is exactly what Haslam and Neale has done. This book is a complete rehash of ‘part 4 Life writing’ in Creative Writing: A Workbook with Readings (2006) edited by Linda Anderson. That’s not a bad thing. It is a wonderful book, but I feel slightly cheated. On the cover of New Writing Scotland 30 is a picture of a record with the name ‘A Little Touch of Cliff in the Evening’ which is one of the published stories inside by the playwright Sylivia Dow. It has the merit of being short- one act- then curtains. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. I just don’t get it. I also don’t get Alasdair Gray ‘Midgieburgers’ but I also didn’t get his epic novel Lanark. I’m pretty sure I also tried tackling Poor Thing, but ended up with head rot and six months in Gartnavel Royal with amnesia. That’ll teach me, but it doesn’t. Poetry I tended towards the less well known. If it was writing by a Makar like Ron Butlin it seems to me prose-light and I just don’t get it. Prose wise there was very little I didn’t like or was able to take something from. Raymond Soltysek ‘Spree Killer’ cuts to the bone of characterisation and kicks through the gears of storytelling, but he is a Saltire nominated prose writer and BAFTA-winning screenwriter. Bastard. A touch of envy in the evening.