Tag Archives: Scottish Opera

January 2019

The new year started with me reading a lot of Indian fiction. ‘Ghachar Gochar’ by Shanbag, a charming wee novella, a translated work and well deserved prize winner. Tarun Tejpal’s ‘The State of my Assassins’ a tale of Modern India and its corrupt political machinations and the author’s own sexual conduct for which he is now serving a term in prison was fascinating. I’ve moved on from the Indian writer’s to read for Ann Karkalas’s book group. We’ve formed a book group in memory of our wonderful Glasgow University lecturer who passed away last year. The first book was Ian Mc Ewan’s Children’s Act. This month it is ‘Blood Flowers ‘ by Anita Azzervani, a Persian American author. The book is set in 17th Century Ishfahan and is totally fascinating though rather saucy.

My new class on Contemporary Irish Fiction is very interesting. We analysed a prize winning short story by Claire Keeegan ‘Foster’. Do read it if you can. Roddy Doyle next week. Learning all the time, something I relish

I had a spurt of enthusiasm, new diary, a few submissions of poems to some magazines and wrote a few new ones. On Friday 11th January I was once again persuaded by the XPONORTH Twitter pitch for the day. I thought it will give me the impetus to get back into writing a new novel. I pitched a line from my short story that was published in the Scotsman newspaper in 2014. Guess what? One of the publishers is interested in it! Now I need to write it! I am thrilled and worried if I can get it done. This was my pitch: Saugaor, a cantonment under the Bombay command of a British regiment. When the cantonment was ready for the thousand plus soldiers, quarters were provided for twelve young Indian women to service them. A story of survival of one of these women in colonial India. #xponorth

My local Lillie Art Gallery exhibits some of the best works of Scottish artists. I was happy to see my friend Douglas Thomson’s brother, Ally ‘s work on display. Fiona Hislop the Minister for Scottish Culture & Art opened the exhibition. His talent is amazing and I was glad I managed to get t the exhibition.

January is the month of our Tamil festival ‘Pongal,’ a harvest thanksgiving one. We celebrated it quietly at home.

With my friend Maureen I went to the Theatre Royal to see a modern Opera, ‘Anthropocene’ written by Louise Welsh . It was a thrilling experience.

Robert’s Burn’s night is always a highlight in January. I was moved by this new poem by Gerda Stevenson. I read her book ‘Quines’ and was totally enthralled by her poetry.

Fremmit, by Gerda Stevenson (in memoriam Alan Kurdi)

Nine faddoms deep they lie the nicht

faur frae the hame they ken,

davert tae the seals an shairks

that straik their strippit banes.

The ghaistly muin abuin them sails

in a black an wappin lift;

fur aa their licht the starns are blin,

thae bairns are tint for aye;

their kin micht sab, mithers scraich

their grief tae heiven’s hicht –

the hale warld, ow’r aa its airts,

hus boardit up and nailed ticht

its hairt’s door fur fear o fremmit fowk,

their fremmit weys –

thae bairns are gane fur aye.

Wha wull say wha taks the wyte,

wha cairries shame in the auld gemm

o win or tyne? Sin lang syne men

hae seen their mercats rise an faa,

collateral the stamp o nature’s law;

cauld blasts in Januar wull bring

feast an sang: Let us pray that come it may,

brithers be, an aa that; aa that, fur aa that –

nine faddoms deep they lie the nicht;

thae fremmit bairns o fremmit fowk,

deid an gane fur aye.

Fremmit, foreign; davert, numb; wappin, huge

This month has covered it all, reading, writing, classes, art and opera. A truly rich start to the year 2019. I hope it was the same for all of you, a great start to a new year. Cheers!