May 15th 2015
At the end of June I am going to Scotland for a book reading in my native Argyll. It will be strange to do this amidst all the scenery that is the backdrop for my book. I have only ever done these kinds of events in America, which is a foreign country for me - even after twenty-nine years here, I am still a stranger in a strange land. Other Scottish ex-pats of my acquaintance wouldn't entertain the idea of returning to Scotland - they have found their land of plenty, and the idea of moving back into the land of dour faces plunges them into a state of despair.
It is true, Scottish people can be dour. The reasons we all left in the first place are still there. And yet, and yet, there is something about the place of my birth that calls and has a strange magic to it. There are people in the US who are only vaguely connected to Scotland, who get all droopy by anything Scottish (except for haggis, of course - but I had it just last night via Texas, and I still love it!)
There is just something about Scotland:
The history of writers living abroad is long: James Joyce, DH Lawrence, TS Eliot. Even Lewis Grassic Gibbon, the most Scottish of writers, lived in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. How English is that? And this from a Scottish writer who insisted on writing in Scots dialect, a decision which arguably deprived him of a worldwide audience. He deserved to be better known. He is, apart from Burns, the foremost Scottish writer. You can keep your Walter Scott and even your Robert Louis Stevenson. It's Lewis Grassic Gibbon who made the word embody the land. He is the Scotsman of beautiful words.
The film industry has finally caught onto this, and his best book Sunset Song is now in post-production as a major movie. Can't wait. And once they're done with that, I have an entire slew of books just waiting for the making. Hell, I have an entire slew of screenplays of the books just waiting for the making. Lewis Grassic Gibbon died at age thirty-three. He had to fit a lot in to a very short life. I have more time. But I still can't wait!