Inside the Spiegeltent.

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Thank you to everyone who attended my Story Shop reading today at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. It was an unforgettable experience. Once again I was reminded of how wonderfully supportive the Edinburgh literary community is, and I was especially grateful for everyone who took a moment out of your day to let me tell you a story.

I hope to tell you many more!

The full text and audio excerpt of my story “Leftovers” are available on the City of Literature Trust’s website.

My publications and other appearances are listed on my “Fiction” page.

Story Shop 2014

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I am thrilled to announce that I will be reading my story “Leftovers” for Story Shop 2014, hosted by the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Story Shop is a series of daily 10-minute flash fiction and short story readings by local emerging writers.

My reading is on Wednesday the 13th of August at 4pm in the Guardian Spiegeltent. Drop by for a free story!

Haze and howl.

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Smacked down with a jagged little head-cold. Some bits from my phone, remnants of my desultory search for spring …

A mark on a lamppost.

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A squadron of daffodils besieging the links.

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A shrubbery unconvinced by spring’s opening argument.

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HIDWtS: Thanksgiving in Scotland.

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This Thanksgiving edition of How I Decide Where to Sit is dedicated to reviewing all the rookie mistakes one can make when riding public transit in a new city for the first time, because it is kind of like what the Pilgrims did when they– no. Even I can’t torture that metaphor. It is dedicated to rookie mistakes because I made them all today and I need to laugh about them with you.

  • I waited thirty minutes for a bus whose arrival time as reported by the phone app was stuck at "21:39" before giving up and walking to a stop of a different bus that seemed to be showing up every ten minutes.
  • I assumed that the stops for the line going inbound were in generally the same place as the stops for the line going outbound.
  • I forgot about the driving on the left side of the road thing, which means I was waiting on the wrong side of the street for the inbound bus.
  • I thought I could easily cross a simple little two-lane road to get to the correct side of the street, but finally gave up and walked all the way around to the subway (underpass) so I could cross without dying.
  • When I finally boarded the right bus, I was so set on sitting up top that I was forced to sit on the very back row, which is almost exactly like the rumble seat.
  • Despite much rumbling, I fell asleep. But woke up just as the bus approached the landmark nearest my stop!
  • I disbelieved my gut telling me to walk THAT WAY home and instead listened to the little blue dot of the GPS which lies.

So really it was like riding public transit for the very first time ever! That is the spin I am going to take because I am in denial, denial that moving to a new country, even if you (sort of) speak the language, means not knowing how to do anything very well for a while and just sucking that up because the alternative is hiding in your very nice flat all the time and pretending to buy postage from the cats just so you get better at counting out the different coins. Not that I have been doing that at all.

Lothian Buses 991 SN57 DBX

Lothian Buses 991 SN57 DBX, by Ingy the Wingy

Anyway, I had thought about doing some sort of Thanksgiving meal here, but the more I pondered approximating turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and the rest, the more homesick I felt, and then I felt disappointed about feeling so homesick. My stomach sold the rest of me out for the memory of pumpkin pie. Yesterday’s vegan baking experiment of pumpkin mini-muffins did not do the trick, although they were tasty. (I used this recipe, with a ripe banana in the place of the eggs.)

Homesickness aside, I am extremely thankful for this new home, for my family and friends, and for owning a lot of candles because this place is very dark just now. I think I will go roast some chestnuts.

HIDWtS Rating: We just debated taking turkey legs to the chip shop that will fry anything. Do you think they will do pumpkin puree?

[box type="shadow"]I used to ride a shuttle to work. It was a really nice shuttle and the first time I had ever had that luxury, causing me to overthink pretty much every aspect of it, especially where to sit. And now I overthink where I decide to sit in every open-seating situation, so I’m writing about it in a series called How I Decide Where to Sit.[/box]

Mental map, one month in.

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I’ve been in Edinburgh a month already! Really? Really. So I thought it might be time to draw a mental map.

Mental map, one month in.

The trees here don’t look anything like that. And I didn’t know how to draw the building we live in without taking up the entire lower-third of the map, so you get a Monopoly house instead.

It took a lot of willpower not to include the tram works, but I didn’t have an iPad stylus setting for “fubar”.

The good news is that my map of the immediate vicinity is very clear. I can now navigate between all places of importance, which is a list that coincides with the places I will find tea.

Additional good news: next week I start my volunteer position at the National Trust for Scotland, which means I will be reliant on public transit once more! Mental map, prepare to be … extended a few miles to the west in a very narrow corridor. With authority.