Swithering » swither (Scots), v.: to be uncertain, in two minds, to doubt, waver, or dither.

The Reading Life: 2016

December 31, 2016 | One Comment

“It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times,” writes Ali Smith in the opening of Autumn, (a book I’ve just started), and, damn, ain’t that the truth? Books had always provided solace against calamities both personal and public, but there were moments during this past year when I could barely pick one up, let alone turn a page. Bowie, Prince, Victoria Wood, Alan Rickman—so many great artists gone—followed by two of my all-time favorite writers, William Trevor and Shirley Hazard. And then, a few weeks ago, …

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A Fork in the Road

September 5, 2016 | 2 Comments

In the middle of June, I packed books, pinboards, a laptop, wellies, a holdall of tatty clothes, and Dougie the dog into the car, and headed for the Scottish Borders.…

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Notes on an Essay

August 9, 2016 | 4 Comments

I’ve often remarked that I’m a slow writer, but I’m not sure folks really get how slow. I’m not talking slow-food slow here; you’d starve to death waiting for me to cook…

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