A flurry of articles about Scottish writing here.
I’m not Scottish. I’ve lived here since I was three and I’m an alien. I’ll always be a white settler, unwanted, despised, mocked, an outsider. That’s okay. I live here in disguise and I cut my own shape out of the land. I take the displaced earth and I eat it in handfuls, taste every bitter muddy clod. Scotland and I live in a state of cold war.
I’m not a writer. I’ve written for many years and I produce reams of blank pages. When exposed to light the words bleach out. They disappear into the ether. I read the wrong books, I speak the wrong language whenever I open my mouth. If I allow myself to think about it, I miss my painting studio, the smell of linseed oil and turps. I miss it like the man who ran off with his mistress and still dreams, secretly, of his long lost wife.
The last pictures I made were of fitted kitchens, of women with their faces burning, of rooms with small windows. They were done in heavy charcoal and the figures sat with hunched shoulders. The drawings are hanging on a washing line now, pegged up, the paper curling at the edges. I try not to look at them when I pass. Most of the time I have my son by the hand, and I’m taking him out for fresh air, teaching him how to share, how to be gentle, how to withstand the cruelty to come.