I know all this because I’m officially ancient now, having just turned sixty-five, and because I’m being interrupted by those memories at an increasing rate. I also know that when they materialise most normal people are likely to smile at the memories if they’re happy or funny ones, or wince if not, and then move on with their lives. But not so this writer. I smile or wince, all right, but I find I can’t move on until I’ve recorded the memory, until I’ve captured it in a story. Each memory halts progress on The Great Scottish Novel. It becomes an itch I have to scratch.
I’ve been scratching those itches for a fair while now and I’ve built up a stack of wee stories as a result. You'll find them all on this site. Here’s a sentence or two about each of them:
No’ on a Friday recounts an incident during my first proper office job when I was nineteen. There’s a bizarre image in it that I’ve never been able to shake off.
Fast-forward twenty years or so to Summoned to The Tower, when I really did have an important appointment at The Tower of London.
Recalling a 1990 visit to Eire, Irish Riddles was prompted by the outcome of the Scottish Independence Referendum last year.
Goaded By Nuns takes place round about the same time and relates the peculiar circumstances in which I made a very good friend.
In Red Leather Slippers, I’m fifteen again and being chucked in at the deep end by my Irish rebel mother.
I’m about the same age in Rules of Engagement, in which I’m a witness to the gallus outcome of a square go.
Made in Ireland recreates an incident from the 1970’s in the home of my former in-laws. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
Finally (for the moment, at least), I’m a twelve year-old in Dux and learning for the first time the destructive power of the clique.
If I accumulate any more stories like them, I might publish them all in an anthology, called perhaps The Itchy & Scratchy Show. Either that or I’ll go out and buy some anti-itching lotion.
Anyway, back to The Great Scottish Novel until the next interruption from the past.