Tuesday, August 12, 2008

We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment. - Hilaire Belloc

Summer in Scotland: wool sweaters, hats, waterproof shoes, layers, and, on the occasional bright day, dark sunglasses to block glances toward overweight teenagers clad in tight tank tops, cut-off miniskirts and six-inch sandals, not to mention the middle-aged men with pink bellies hanging over their jeans. The rain's come in brief explosions, leaving harsh shades of green and a glorious, fresh scent in the air. I've now been in Scotland for a year, if Shetland counts, and I'm still trying to come to terms with the weather, which can be as manipulative as the media.
Cath, Matt, and me atop Ben Wyvis, July 2008
We've had scads of visitors, starting in June and ending just a day ago. It's been fun showing off this place, though the weather's been frustrating for most of them. Note to all persons considering a trip to Britain: IT RAINS HERE. Accept it, move on, and hope for the best. Of course, I had my parents pack for chilly, wet weather, as July was quite cold; they arrived to two weeks of warm sunshine, called me a liar, and bought t-shirts. Sorry, Mom and Dad.

Their visit gave Matt and I an excuse for a trip around the Highlands and western isles. We wanted to show my parents the best of Scotland (since their daughter will be living here and all) and with the weather gods smiling down on us, the trip was close to perfect.
Luskentyre beach, Isle of Harris. The whitest sand and clearest turquoise water I've ever seen. The sun was out, and the water was warm - I could have easily spent days on that beach. It went on for miles. reaching into the horizon. Absolutely beautiful.
The Calanais Stones, on Harris, dated from 3000 BC.
The stones were placed on the windswept shores of Loch Roag, where the sapphires in my engagement ring were found. The peaceful vibe of this spot was breathtaking.
Glenfinnan, between Ft. William and Mallaig. This is Highland scenery at its best - a silky loch, dozens of shades of green, dramatic hills, layers of mountains in the distance.
The view from the top of the Applecross Pass, towards Skye. This is a legendary road in Scotland, as it's a singletrack, steep ascent and descent with little space for manouvering. There are warning signs at the start of the road. I was a bit disappointed, however; I've driven vanloads of twelve-year-olds on far narrower and steeper roads in Switzerland, so I suppose I have TASIS to thank for my lack of fear of driving windy mountain passes. (And the Kansas girl in me is quite proud of this talent.) And, oddly enough, the hill to the left of center looks eerily like Lugano's San Slavatore
just before a storm.

The book is headed for yet another rewrite. In a year, I've managed to finish two novels, but neither are ready for publication. I've abandoned one, and there's still loads of work to do on the other. I admire (and, admittedly, envy) writers who can whip out a story without any rewrites, but I'm realizing that I don't work like that. I'm lucky enough to have an agent who is patient with me and believes in my potential - her belief in me sustains me through the black days. I read a recent interview with a writer who wrote seven novels before publishing her eighth, and she called the first seven her 'apprenticeship.' I'm taking that idea and running with it.
Harris, at sunset. I found this view the most inspiring of them all.

1 comment:

Erik R. said...

Stunning photographs as usual. Is there any way for your blog readers to get copies of your manuscripts, or are there legal blockades against that?