Today I met with the lovely Stephanie McGregor, a fellow SCBWI‘er and one of life’s good people. We roamed the magnificent Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow, marvelling at the portraits, masterpieces and not forgetting the Giraffe before we wandered back into the City Centre for lunch.
Conversation flowed and we laughed about life and the weird and wonderful things it throws your way. As writers, we obviously ranted about the little things that can make or break a story. Such as: working on a new idea and going into a bookshop and a new release is YOUR book by someone else or nearly finishing a spooky chapter in your WIP and not being able to sleep because the monster you’ve written about is behind your curtains, staring in your window. It is you know, go and check!
I made a comment along the lines of “remind me to tell you an Edinburgh The Village moment I had yesterday”. There was a very brief moment of silence.
She quietly placed her spoon on her plate and looked across the table at me with a bemused expression (I get that a lot) and asked in her lovely Ohio-Glaswegian accent. “A what moment?” .
An Edinburgh The Village moment, I say. I have these moments a lot, much to my husbands annoyance. It doesn’t matter where we are. We arrive at a destination and within five minutes I have normally met someone I know or who know’s me through someone else. Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, has just under 500,000 inhabitants so the laws of probability mean that I shouldn’t really know anyone I pass in the street. In my case though it could be Edinburgh Airport, a shoe shop, IKEA, on the ferry to Harris …you name it, I’ve known someone. The most surprising I think was in a pool in Majorca!
That’s me. Mrs ‘I can’t go anywhere without knowing the world’ GreatBigJar.
So, my Edinburgh The Village moment was this:
I joined a writers group on Facebook. I thought to myself ‘you can never have enough intel about events/submission deadlines/agents etc’ so I clicked the wee blue hand and away we went. ‘Hello there’, I write on their wall. ‘I’m GreatBigJar, thanks for letting me join you all’. I received some very nice messages back and as I had a spare nano-second, I had a little look on their board.
I noticed a message from a lady who was looking to join a group of writers in the Edinburgh area. The name was familiar but I couldn’t place it. So I put on my SCBWI hat and regaled her with all the necessary info on our fantastic group at SCBWI South East Scotland. She thanked me for the info and that was that. But it was annoying me. I knew the name but where from?
So I hunted down my missing glasses (I’d had enough of my eye strain by then) and double clicked on her photo. Nooooo way! I hear myself say. The French song ‘Sur Le Pont D’Avignon’ burst out of the page and slapped me about the chops before nestling back into the screen with a smile. And then I remembered. A guitar, long hair and a glorious French accent with a sharp Scottish dialect thrown in for good measure.
My old (not as in her age but in the years since I have been at high school) French teacher. Twenty two years later and I still know the words to that song and she hasn’t changed a bit. Although her hair isn’t long any more.
An Edinburgh the Village moment. I am meeting said village for a coffee. No guitars though.