I always feel emotional when a year draws to a close.
This year my normal melancholy is magnified in knowing that 2020 has been at the very least horrendous for everyone. For some, the impact of the pandemic has been crippling and overwhelming. Life changing. That sadness is weighting the sky. It can only hold such intense sorrow for so long. Dark clouds are looming intently, eager to release their torrent and envelop everything.
Add to that poverty levels increasing, unemployment at numbers not seen for decades, mental health issues rising exponentially and the physical health of thousands deteriorating as routine appointments and diagnostics have been delayed in the face of the pandemic. And Brexit, let’s not forget the catastrophe that is somewhat the icing on the cake. (Don’t worry, I’m not ready to talk about it.)
I won’t list my own woes. 2020 is not a competition, and thankfully, I’m here, as are my family and friends.
On that basis, I have to continue to not just exist but find ways to thrive. Or at least to try. Underneath even the darkest of skies there is light. Those of us fortunate enough to be able to feel its existence are incredibly lucky. Consequently we are driven forwards, encouraged to be positive, to be pro-active, and, somehow, despite everything, determined.
It is in that vein that I worked constantly on multiple projects throughout the year.
I recently delivered my latest film. A pandemic and some health issues aside, I’m rather proud of how my team and I pulled together and made Iron Women, which will air on BBC ALBA on the 2nd of January, 2021.
Iron Women explores the extraordinary history of women’s golf in Scotland. From the early pioneers of the 18th century, to formidable role models who challenged the patriarchal constraints of male dominated golfing arenas, this story celebrates the trailblazers who put Scottish women’s golf firmly on the world map.
It may not seem important in the grand scheme of things and yet it is, hugely so. When we create and contribute, in that act we are pushing beyond constraints and that in itself is an achievement. In allowing voices to be heard, (especially your own), and giving history, or women, or events, or ‘whatever’ you want a platform from where it/they can be celebrated and remembered, you, we, us, are making a difference. It matters. It all matters.
Here’s a wee taster from the film, just in case you can’t wait!
At a personal creative level, there’s been other excitement too. I’ve been busy sending the final bits and pieces to my publisher Linen Press and my new novel Almost Then now has its dedication page, my acknowledgments and my bio and the back page blurb. The novel editing is done and we await the final proofs. We have decided on the most exquisite cover and I’m really excited to share it. I really do love it. I hope you do too. And the book, of course. I hope you read it, and feel inspired by it.
We’ve been chatting about the official launch date for Almost Then and we have decided to push that back a little, until March, in the hope that there’s a little bit more normality and at least the prospect of a physical launch. I want to share the story, in person, if I can.
What’s the novel about, you ask 😉? Well…
Almost Then is the story of twins Rathlin and Breacán Doherty, a brother and sister who witness their parents die in an accident at their family farm in Kintyre, Scotland, when they are just 12 years old. As the novel unravels we discover that grief and loss has permeated their impenetrable bond, seemingly irreparably. The twins are forcibly separated as teenagers and begin to harbour deep secrets from one another but it all unfurls, shockingly so, when they come together on their 27th birthday to help save their beloved family home, Ballynoe.
No spoilers, but, well, their ‘perfect’ early childhood wasn’t quite as it seemed and adulthood has been tough on my twins…
It’s not all sorrow and tears, as well as tragedy I promise lots of laughs, brilliant characters and a story rich with landscape and folklore. What’s not to like 💕
Twins are at the centre of my actual life too.
I am a twin. My brother and I are a different family within our family. I wrote this book with an authentic voice, knowing and understanding the bond between twins.
And the story continues.
When my daughter announced her pregnancy during the final stages of the novel we didn’t need to wait for the scan to know that she was carrying twins. They were literally written into existence -well I will say that!
Identical girls, a family within a family, who are set to make anything and everything possible in 2021.
The girls, and Almost Then will be entering the world around the same time.
I hope the new year brings you better days, too.