Monday, October 6, 2008

To Edinburgh!

What do Irvine Welsh, the author of Trainspotting, Robert Burns, known as the Ploughman Poet or the Bard of Ayrshire, Sir James Barrie, creator of Peter Pan, Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, Sean Connery, the actor best known for playing James Bond, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Alexander Fleming, credited with discovering penicillin, Eric Henry Liddell, the Olympic athlete whose life was immortalized in the film Chariots of Fire, John Muir, considered the father of the modern environmental movement, Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, Alastair Sim, best known (to me) in the role he played as Scrooge in the 1951 film, Muriel Spark, author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and Robert Louis Stevenson, best known for his adventure stories, Kidnapped and Treasure Island have in common?

Why, they along with scores of other famous artists, scientists and historical figures were all born in Scotland!

And on Wednesday, Scott and I will be on our way to visit Scotland for ten days. Scott was invited along on a trip with about ten other American painters and yours truly will be along for the ride.

Despite the fact I lived in England from 1981-1983, I never made it to Scotland, so I'm really looking forward to the visit.

Our stay will be split between two different Manor Houses -- and the first is apparently within fifty yards of Rosslyn Chapel. We'll have a rental car and we plan to keep our plans pretty fluid, so wish us luck.

To be honest, I am looking forward to leaving the country and unplugging for ten days because frankly, I think I'm at the limit of sensory overload with all the news about the election and the economy. And despite the last post I did about progress on my own work, I've not yet found the end of The Foundling Wheel, so I hope the time and distance from my job and the day to day distractions will give me some room to spend time with my characters and work this out.

In the past, long flights have been a great environment for writing -- at least as long as the laptop battery lasts. Nothing promotes "ass in chair" quite like a transatlantic flight. I've also been choosing, discarding and re-choosing those few books from the TBR stack that I want to take along, but I've also loaded the Kindle up. Not only do I have ebooks, but I've also downloaded Crime and Punishment from, so I have lots of options for reading.

I hate to say that we're leaving not a moment too soon. Tomorrow night the second Presidential Debate will be on and of course we'll be watching, but the last couple of days have given me a queasy, creepy feeling. the campaigns are getting uglier and for the same reason I don't watch reality TV, I don't want to watch as the rhetoric becomes even nastier.

I'm looking forward to lots of productive writing time, whether it's on TFW or even random observations as we meander from village to village.

I read at Therese Fowler's blog, Making it Up that October is National Book Club Month, and it got me thinking. So many of us have towering TBR stacks, wouldn't it be nice if we could choose a book that lots of us want to read and target some future date that we'd like to blog about it? Just an idea. October is too far gone, but I'll take my inspiration from this month. Perhaps we could choose a book sometime over the next few weeks and then choose a date around the first of the year to blog about it -- no need to pressure ourselves more than we already do.

We've got people with tastes all over the map, but we might just get lucky and if four or five of us can agree on a selection, I think that would be pretty cool. Think about it and let me know if you'd be interested and if so, maybe suggest a list of books you're interested in reading that might be more interesting if you knew others were reading them too.

I've got at least a couple of hundred books in my TBR stack (seriously), so I'll try to come up with my own list of suggestions if there's interest.

There are lots of good Scottish sayings and one I find would serve me well in my writing is, "say but little and say it well." For more Scottish wisdom, see a longer list here or here.

And on that note, I'll be back on line on October 18th or 19th, unless I'm shocked and find that one of the spooky old manor houses has wireless...hmm.


steve said...

Enjoy your trip to Scotland! Kathleen can trace her lineage to the MacRanald sept of Clan MacDonald, and is a direct descendant of John, Lord of the Isles.

Edinburgh is a beautiful city, though the last time I saw it was in 1971, when, to save on lodging, I'd ride the night train from King's Cross to Edinburgh, then return via Glasgow to Euston.

If you happen to be in Earlston (once Ercildoune), be sure to visit Thomas the Rhymer's Tower. But there's certainly enough to see and do in Edinburgh.

Julie Layne said...

I'll be about two weeks behind you. Still can't quite believe it!

Enjoy your trip and be safe.

The bloggers book read sounds interesting. Thinking ...

kristenspina said...

I love that you are taking this trip--even if you find wifi in the manor house, resist the urge. You need the break.

And I am totally up for the bloggers book club idea. Count me in!

Safe travels my friend, enjoy every minute!

Charles Gramlich said...

Wow, that's cool. Congrats to you and Scott. Enjoy!

Sustenance Scout said...

Enjoy enjoy enjoy!! I'm not too jealous(!); I'll just have to experience Scotland vicariously through your tales AFTER you get back. I'm with Kristen: NO WIFI! Just relax and have a ball. Safe travels! K.

Patti said...

ASS!(in chair)

so jealous. have a great time. but i suspect that you won't get away from politics altogether because from what i read this is a topic that has spread far beyond our borders.

Elizabeth said...

Enjoy your trip to Scotland! My maternal grandmother is a Ross -- look out for the plaid!

Larramie said...

What? It's already time for Scotland? Yikes, where is October going?

Please count me in for the bookclub and I'll try to come up with a short list.

Travel safe and enjoy...the Scots are known for their friendliness.

Carleen Brice said...

I'll miss you, but for your sake I hope there's no wireless. Enjoy!

Lana Gramlich said...

Have a great trip! (Although I don't see how you could possibly NOT!)

Vesper said...

This is excellent!
I hope you enjoy your trip and find lots of inspiration on the road.

debra said...

Happy and safe trails, Lisa. Taking a break from the slinging of mud sounds wonderful!

Riss said...

the book club sounds like an awesome idea...and, even though I just got back, I wish I were going along with you. I think Scotland would be amazing. (c: Enjoy your trip and don't stress too hard about your book, you'll be surprised how many things strike you while you're gone and sometimes not working on something is the best perspective. Not that you shouldn't write-but yeah-the ending is there, perhaps hiding somewhere in the greenery of Scotland. (c:

Steve Malley said...

I. Am. SO. Jealous.

Have fun! :-)

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Hope you're having a blast. Hope you stay away from the wifi. Count me in for the bookclub blog idea.

Anyone else up for Anna Karenina? (I've never read it and just bought it, but might need some pushing to actually crack it open!)

Timothy Hallinan said...

Have a magical time. I'm up for the book blog idea. And I'll read anything that's not (a) told from the perspective of a serial killer, or (b) features a mystery that's solved by a cat. Or a parakeet. Or a potholder.

Seachanges said...

Enjoy your stay: lots to write about when there and when back, I hope!

Jennifer said...

Hope you and Scott are having a marvelous time, Lisa! Looking forward to hearing about it and seeing any photos you'd like to share. Bruce and I spent a couple of days in Edinburgh back in 2001, and we loved it. Wishing you tons of inspiration, interesting people and places, and an uneventful flight home!

Oh, and the book blog idea sounds like a lot of fun to me, too. No suggestions are coming to mind at the moment, but if anything does, I'll come back and post. :)

Ello said...

I AM SO JEALOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a wonderful time and enjoy yourself! Can't wait to see pictures when you are back!

watchsell said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

We've been looking around for a place to move if McCain wins next month. Scotland's high on the list.

The Electric Orchid Hunter said...

Super jealous! Edinburgh is one of the world capitals of culture! Enjoy every moment.

Going Dutch said...

Wish I could have caught up with you in Edinburgh.

Lisa said...

Hey, look at all these well wishes! Thanks everybody :)

Steve, We spent a night in Edinburgh on either end of the trip, but went to a bunch of other places in between...more on that this week.

Julie, I'm back and now you'll be headed across the Atlantic soon. You will love it!

Kristen, It was a great trip and for various reasons, I had internet connectivity the first night we were there and then not again until we got home last night...more on that later...glad you're in on the book club idea.

Charles, We had a blast. It was nice to be really away from it internet, TV or newspapers for almost the entire time, if you can believe it.

Karen, Like I said, I was on line the first night and then off the grid the entire time...

Patti, I really did manage to stay away from the politics for 10-11 days. Now...I had to resist stopping to buy a newspaper, but it wasn't too hard :)

Elizabeth, We didn't manage to avoid the tartan (as I will reveal in photos). I wasn't planning on buying anything, but did end up buying a very cool cashmere tartan scarf (at 60% off in a mill) -- I don't know which clan it belongs to, but it had lavender in it so I couldn't resist.

Larramie, I have to say that Scotland is probably the friendliest country I've ever traveled in. They didn't even honk at my driving!

Carleen, No wireless! Being off the grid was really good -- I highly recommend it.

Lana, It was one of the best trips I've ever taken -- if not the best...more on it this week!

Vesper, There was plenty of inspiration...although not necessarily related to my current work in progress -- but I'll take it however it comes :)

Debra, No mud slinging, but there was plenty of mud in the countryside for sure. But mud and a bit of rain were just a small part of it all and they didn't take away from the experience at all.

Riss, If I stress here (which I do), Scotland was the antidote to that. I can't believe it's back to work tomorrow!

Steve, Well, in case I haven't mentioned it, I'm envious of your locale all the time. I made it to Australia once, but I'm not sure I'll ever make it to New Zealand. You must be headed into summer now as we're definitely seeing fall here.

Judy, Oooh, I'd re-read Anna Karenina. I read it quite a long time ago and I really liked it. Although I'd also like to give Madame Bovary a try -- I'm pretty sure I've never read it...

Tim, You crack me up. Now I'm inspired to write a mystery either solved by or told from the perspective of a pot holder :)

Seachanges, It was wonderful and the challenge will be choosing what to blog about!

Jennifer, It was a blast and the trip was pretty (thankfully) uneventful, but LONG!

Ello, I have LOTS of pictures to share -- I figure it will allow me a lazy week or two where I'll let the images tell the story :)

Patrick, I'm with you on the move! And the exchange rate is great right now -- although everything there is pretty expensive. The Royal Bank of Scotland is getting a multi billion pound bailout from the government too, so things are getting tough all over.

Orchid Hunter, Yes! Land of poets and painters and lots and lots of culture. It was fantastic.

Leslie, Me too...although we stayed in two other manor houses in other places too, so we'll have to think about making a trip to Holland instead :)

Billy said...

Hope your trip is goign well! have fun, and get a lot of writing done on the plane!

Barrie said...

You're on your way as I write this! Hope you have a wonderful wonderful trip and return with all kinds of blog-worthy material for us!

Melissa Marsh said...

Since I just got back from England, I'm anxious to hear of your trip in Scotland! (And pics...lots of pics!).

pattinase (abbott) said...

You're back. Did you have fun? Do tell us.

virtual voyage said...

Sounds like you had a good time - look forward to seeing your photos!

Elizabeth said...

When are you coming back? To your blog?

Lisa said...

Billy, Actually that didn't happen -- but as soon as we've elected a new President, I'll be back at it hard.

Barrie, The trip was great, but I haven't been able to blog about it yet. I will definitely do it after the election.

Melissa, I've been reading your posts about London - it sounds like it was the trip of a lifetime, even though you got sick :(

Patti, It's funny, but all the things I've been thinking about the trip have less to do with Scotland itself and more to do with traveling and the idea of place.

Julie, I've got some photos to share -- but not the best ones. There was a mishap -- more on that to come.

Elizabeth, I'm sort of here ;)

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Literary Quote

It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.

Virginia Woolf