The pink double-decker buses rumble by all day, rattling down the cobblestones here in Edinburgh. They pass by every 5 minutes or so. Except when I want one. Then, it seems like I just missed the last one and next one (Edinburgh has conveniently installed electronic boards at some stops announcing when the next bus is due) isn’t coming for another 15-20 minutes. Fifteen or twenty minutes isn’t really a long time, unless the wind is blowing the freezing rain in your direction or you are sitting on a sticky ledge downtown at 11:00 at night, after they’ve rolled up the sidewalks and the only people still lingering are you and the dodgy ones.
Like a true former New Yorker, I waited at the bus stop for 22 minutes last night instead of taking a taxi because I had bought a bus pass, damn it! Sitting on a rail where I didn’t notice the gooey stuff until I got home and looked at the back of my black wool skirt. That will have to dry cleaned and I hope whatever “it” is comes out or I will have only a 12-Item Wardrobe from now on.
I was returning from Glasgow where I had attended a book launch. Helen MacKinven, whom I met in a Facebook writers’ group, was launching her debut novel, Talk of the Toun.
I am envious (A) that she had a proper book launch with cupcakes and wine and a moderator and lots of admiring friends and public in attendance, and (B) that she was so calm and self-assured, slipping into her character to do an animated reading and easily being interviewed and answering questions without a hitch or tears. She didn’t cry once.
I bought a copy of Talk of the Toun and have started reading it. I’m already hooked. It’s an irreverent story about a teenage girl, growing up poor, in small-town 1980’s Scotland. A coming-of-age black comedy.
It’s written in Scottish dialect, but if you’re not a Scot, don’t let that scare you. The writing flows so well that it’s easy to get into the character’s head and understand she’s saying.
I’m looking forward to reading it and to seeing more from this talented author.