Hello!  Here are the happenings from my desk and beyond.
View this email in your browser
How are you doing? That’s a genuine question.

This has been such a strange, disturbing and disconnected time that I just wanted to reach out and say hello. I understand that many of you will be going through incredibly challenging circumstances, for lots of different reasons, and it feels impossible to say anything that is helpful for everyone. But perhaps that is true at all times and it is useful to be reminded that we never know the whole story of another person’s life or how our words sound to them. Whatever your situation, I pray there is support for you.
I had a newsletter all written and ready at New Year, but for reasons I’ll share below, I couldn’t send it. That also was a difficult time. We had been fortunate enough to spend a few weeks in Australia for my niece’s wedding plus Christmas and holiday with my extended family. It was a special holiday but shadowed by the horrific bushfires that took lives and destroyed land and wildlife on a heart-breaking scale. There were many contributing factors, but it was a stark reminder of the increasing toll of climate change. 
Phillip Island, safe from fires
Although the landscape and weather here are vastly different, there are signs in my home in the Cairngorms of Scotland also of global warming, not least in the decline of snow through the winter, which impacts both wildlife and the local businesses. As well as snow, we’ve had some ferocious storms, one of which coincided with my plans to do a mountain Winter Skills course. You can read about that terrifying prospect here. Fortunately, we did manage a couple of days in beautiful snowy conditions right before Covid restrictions set in, and I’ll be sharing more about those soon.
On the Cairngorm Plateau with Sileas the Golden Retriever
My tour as Writer in Residence for the Cairngorms National Park officially finished in December. For a summing up of that wonderful year leading the Shared Stories project, have a read of my ‘last post and chorus’ on the Writing the Way blog. You can also see a slide show of it here. Happily, though, my work as a writer in the Park isn’t over. I’m working with them and other partners on developing interpretation for the Speyside Way, one of Scotland’s Long Distance Trails that winds beside the river Spey from Cairngorms to Coast through beautiful countryside legendary for whisky, salmon, timber and railways. We were also going to roll out Shared Stories workshops to primary schools, but they will have to wait for now. I’ve had several workshops, events and festivals cancelled or postponed; it’s been a devastating time for the arts and entertainment world and I am fortunate that the bulk of my work just requires me to sit at home and write. But there’s no ‘alone’ for me, as our two sons are back from University and my days are punctuated by electric guitar solos and enquiries about lunch. Still, we love them and are blessed by their cheerful company and practical help. 
On a favourite local walk
Meanwhile, I’ve had the joy of working with the Newtonmore community on developing text to go with an art installation that has been commissioned for their village square. The winning installation is the design of talented sculptor Stuart Murdoch and will be sited at the southern end of The Speyside Way, providing some lovely connections for me with the interpretation project. Thankfully, we managed four school and adult workshops before lockdown, and since then I’ve been editing and arranging the text to go on the eight wooden panels. We had one video team meeting to discuss choices and I was glad I had remembered to remove the clutter behind me! These new ways of working may well help reduce our carbon footprint by not traveling to meetings so much, but I think most of us are feeling Zoomed out and desperate to be with people again. When this is all over, I may succumb to a serious and infectious hugging virus. Feel free to stand well back. 
Newtonmore Community Workshop - Photo by Dewi Evans
In other work news, I’ve had some articles published on websites recently: a piece about an abandoned glen near us featured on the site Elsewhere: A Journal of Place and this one about Map Gazing on the Walk Highlands site. I’ve also got a feature coming up in the Society of Authors summer issue of The Author magazine about the Shared Stories project. Having got the poetry writing bug through the project last year, I’m still working on it and enjoying the input of two poet friends, Karen Hodgson Pryce and Stephen Bird, who are both very talented and names to look out for. 
My big writing news, that I’ve been desperate to share since mid-November and was all ready to post at New Year is… still classified. If I told you, I’d have to shoot you. I kept holding off that New Year letter thinking any day now I could burst forth with my trumpet voluntary, but the wheels of this business turn painfully S-L-O-W-L-Y sometimes. So I gave up waiting and decided to get in touch with other news (since it was August that I last wrote – sorry!) All I can say right now is that there is VERY GOOD NEWS on the book front and I will let you know as soon as it’s public.
With Dad, Mum and Mark outside our old house
On a personal note, I was able to make a very special trip to Nepal in Feb/March to be with my brother and parents on their last visit to the country that has been our heart home for over 50 years. You can read about that time in my blog posts Under Fishtail Mountain and Return to Fishtail Mountain. Writing the Way posts come out twice a month and you can sign up there to receive them by email, if you like. And for those who do social media, you can also keep in touch via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.
Thank you so much for following the story and staying connected. I am honoured that you take the time to read these letters and respond with interest, one way or another. (Sometimes in ways I may never know, like a smile, which is perfect.) My journey is all the better because it is part of yours.

As you travel this dark valley in the time of coronavirus, may you know healing and hope.


Copyright © 2020 Merryn Glover, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp