Last week, M was in Orkney working. In these four days, I accomplished the following:
- A full 4-page synopsis of SNAKES
- A query letter that I don't loathe
- A read-through of each character's dialogue and scenes for consistency
- A full read-through, including edits from the printout last week
This is more than I've done in months. And I know why. I am more productive from around 3-9pm. I'm not a creative morning person, fiction-wise. Or I'm not now; perhaps I can train myself.
Anyway. I joined M on Friday, and my time on the bus and ferry reminded me of how the journey colors the event. The bus ride to John O'Groats was lovely; tea, interesting historical tidbits, a magazine, sunshine and the beautiful Scottish coast. I sat outside on the ferry and talked to a charming couple from Donegal - they live just across the water from where I stayed two weeks ago - and learned far too much about having children in rural Ireland ('You're not a family until at least six') and how their eight children are nothing compared to their neighbors, who have 22. (!!) Then another bus up to Kirkwall, where a tour guide incessantly told stories about everything we passed along the way. A brilliant way to spend a Friday morning.
Orkney is stunning. The colors are intense, and crayon-bright. Soft hills sweep into the sea, and the light bathes the land in a glowing sheen. We stayed in this house (below), called Roeberry, and I felt like a princess, with majestic views of her kingdom of islands and sea. And cows. This photo was taken at midnight.
We spent the next day frolicking among neolithic ruins. It's difficult for me to fathom the age of standing stones. The Ring of Brodgar and Standing Stones of Stenness are other-worldly, especially when glittering in the sunlight. They are placed in perfect circles. The jut into the ground further than they stretch to the sky. So many stories weave through these massive stones, aching for someone to tell the truth of their origins, the steps in their rituals.
I wrote a story when I was 8 or 9 about heaven. It was a place where all mystery would be revealed, all truth told, all lies exposed, all potential fulfilled. I'm sure it was a veiled desire for some gut-wretching second grade wrong to be righted, but I still yearn for that sort of afterlife.