I'm up in Edinburgh again at the moment, which is why I haven't been here to update you in the last week, but I thought it was about time I wrote something so that you don't all think that I've gone and given up on that breathing thing all together.
I came up on 16th and I'm here until 26th. I've primarily been doing Book Festival things, and have been to lots of talks/readings by lots of different authors about lots of different things. I can't remember them all off the top of my head, but to give a vague idea, I've been to something with Mark Watson talking about his attempts at not being quite so 'Crap at the Environment' (to use the title from his book); I've heard two Canadian writers - Barbara Gowy and Elizabeth Hay - talk about their new novels, neither of which I can remember the title of at the moment, but remember thinking that Barbara Gowy's in particular sounded interesting. A few days ago I saw Yasmin Alibhai-Brown do a kind of autobiographical monologue play that interwove Shakespeare, relating it to her life and her indian-african upbringing. That was hugely entertaining, whilst also being very moving and interesting. Yesterday I went to a discussion about '40 Years of the Man Booker Prize', with someone I can't remember the name of chairing a discussion with Margaret Attwood and Louise Doughty, which was very interesting and also seemed to be being filmed for something or other. Um ... what else? ... Oh yes, I've been to a kind of information workshop thingumy about writing for the radio, which I thought of as preparation for my next creative writing course starting in October that has lots of script writing in it - very informative. Then there was something about self-publishing and whether or not it's possible to be a good author and successfully publish your own work, or if it's actually better to get an established publisher to do it for you - very interesting again, and made the whole idea of self-publishing sound incredibly difficult to do well. Earlier in the week I went to a presentation/discussion whatnot by two people who've written a book called 'The Wrong Kind of Snow' and is about how history has been shaped by the weather. Both speakers/authors were informative and amusing, and I thought the book looked good too, with each day of the year having an historical weather-related story applied to it. Oh yes, I went to see Carol Ann Duffy yesterday (she's an excellent poet who can take you on a journey of all the emotions through her different poems), and she was excellent. And suddenly I can't remember who else I've seen/heard, but it's been quite a packed week.
On Monday evening we (myself, my mum and my step-dad) went to see Nicholas Parsons at The Pleasance in the Fringe Festival, which was funny too, although he wasn't exactly what I was expecting ... not that I could really say what I was expecting. It was fun all the same, and it was good to go to something quite without the Book Festival as well.
Today we've been up to Aberfeldy in Perthshire (I think) to see an exhibition of work by the ceramic artist Lotte Glob. She has her studio up in Sutherland, right up in the north of Scotland, which is where my mother and step-father first came across her work about 20 years ago, but she exhibits and sells her work at various places, particularly in a little gallery/bookshop in the town of Aberfeldy. Although Lotte Glob is Danish by origin (apparently her father was the guy who found that ancient, yet perfectly preserved man in the peat bog many years ago!), she says her work is greatly influenced by the landscape of the extreme north of Scotland. You can see the influence in the ruggedness, the naturalness, the colours, the glazes, the texture, and it's all very interesting ... though way out of my price range.
Other than that lot I've been working hard for my next OU assignment. This next one is officially the last of them for the literature course, but I've missed one out so I'm going to go back and do the one I've missed after I've done this one. It's tough going, because I'm still quite behind, and on top of the work I have to do for the two essays, I somehow also have to find time to revise for the exam, which is on 13th October. It may seem a long way off, but it's not that far really ... not far enough if you ask me! Anyway, I was heartened today by picking up online the mark for my most recent assignment, which I'd felt that I'd rushed and not done as much as I could have done, but I somehow managed to get 87% for it :o)
I'm not sure if you could really call this time away relaxing. In some ways it has been in that I've been doing lots of things that I wouldn't otherwise do, and I haven't had to do any cooking or domestic things (mum likes to do it all and gets slightly hassled if you try to help so it's best to leave her to it). Yeah, I've been looked after, which I guess has meant that when I've sat down to study I haven't had to think about doing anything else, but on the other hand, I've done an awful lot and not had much chill-out, laze around and do nothing time. I've been enjoying myself though, and my lungs have been bearing up fairly well most of the time, but I do find that I get tired quite quickly simply because breathing generally isn't a thing I do very well. Still, I like to make the most of breathing when I'm not fairing too badly at it, and do what I can to enjoy life when it's there to be enjoyed :o) If nothing else, this time away is a good antidote to all the time I spend cooped up in hospital doing nothing but reminding my lungs what they're supposedly designed for.