Monday, November 21, 2022

Driving rain

 The story so far: It's Book Week Scotland and crime writers are criss-crossing the country visiting libraries and other venues like bandits on the lam. Sometimes they meet, other times they go solo. But it's November. It's Scotland. And the elements are waiting...

The rain is hitting my windscreen as if it's trying to get through the glass. The wipers are making a game attempt to keep the road ahead in view but in fact they are only waving goodbye to clear sight. The tarmac is becoming a pool, the lights of the approaching vehicles are smeared by the monsoon. It's only 4pm but it's already as black as the earl of hell's waistcoat. 

And I'm still 50 miles from safe haven.

Not for the first time I wonder what in the name of all that's holy I'm doing out in this. The weather report tells me it's only going to get worse the further east I go but still keep the nose of my car pointed away from a sun that's setting somewhere behind the impenetrable murk in my rear view. 

Nobody will come out on a night like this, surely.

(Don't call me Shirley)

I'll get to the venue and probably be the only person in the room, apart from library staff. Okay, that's happened before and on bright summer nights, too, but seriously, what are you thinking about?

I'll tell you - because this is what I do. I'm a writer and that means more than just sitting in a garret awaiting for the heavenly muse to alight on the forehead like an angel's kiss. It means getting out there and meeting the people who matter - the readers. They're the ones who part with their hard-earned folding green to buy the books, whether physical or digital or audio, and borrow them from libraries.

But even they would be daunted by this weather, surely.

(What did I tell you?)

So I keep on keeping on. Like the postal service, this male will get through.

Like wethar, this has been the worst spell of weather all week. The first three trips were all dry but here we are, Thursday night, and it's like the end of the only decent Superman movie and the dam has burst. Only the big guy isn't going to make the earth spin backwards and reverse time.


At first it didn't look as if there was going to be an audience but slowly, in ones and twos, they arrived in the library's events room. They are a hardy bunch, Dundonians. They were't going to let something like a little precipitation prevent them from turning out to hear three crime writers talk about their craft. The roads may have been flooded but there they are, listening, laughing and - importantly - asking decent questions. As did the audiences at all three sessions I attended.

It's the final event of my Book Week Scotland. They have all been hugely enjoyable because, as I said the last time we were together, it's important to have that kind of contact.

Because that's what it's all about, surely.

(Don't make me come over there...)

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