The launch of the every New Writing Scotland is a much-anticipated event in the Scottish Literary calendar. Published by the Association of Scottish Literary Studies, each issue includes established and new authors. I was delighted when one of my stories was selected in 2017, alongside work by Jim Carruth, Linda Cracknell, Mandy Haggith, Nadine Aisha Jassat, Helen Sedgwick and others. ‘On an Earth Uniformly Covered by Sea’ is the intended title story of my first short story collection.
The roof had already been knocked, leaving just four walls and a crumbling concrete floor. Callum stared at the hardheads growing in his uncle’s yard. The whole reason for his trip north was for a bit of peace to study, and yet here he was, a quick visit with Uisdean turning into a ‘wee job’.
‘So what do you think?’ his uncle asked.
‘How long will take?’
‘Day or two for the frame, another couple for the sheets.’
A breeze stirred up the smell of old straw. Callum’s resit was only a fortnight away, but then he did study best late at night.
‘I’ll no be doing evenings mind. I’ve this exam, like.’
Uisdean said that was fine and after they’d shaken on it, Callum walked back to his mam’s. In his room he set about unpacking. He’d been too tired the night before, taking out only his toothbrush. Now he pulled the books one by one from his bag and stacked them on the windowsill. The set text, the others from the reading list, the course handout, and the two A4 pads of his own scrawled jottings. He opened the cover of Foundations of Fluid Dynamics and let his eyes flit over the contents, the layering of chapters and subtitles – the light from his small window warmer somehow and thicker than the light that washed from the tall windows of the refectory. He dropped the book on top of the others and watched the dust in the room surge and swirl in something like the movement of the sea. He felt that easy wash inside himself. He could give the revising a miss for one night surely […]