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Trying to write in these times of uncertainty...

In Aberdeen

Whirlwind would be a good word to describe the past couple of months. First there was the move to a new (old) house. It's a wonderful home and a great decision for us, but moving, even if it's only a few blocks, is just such an unmitigated pain.

Then there was the annual On the Same Page Literary Festival. Splendid is the word for this event. Great attendance, wonderful authors, and promising prospects for next year, too. But, it does make my feet hurt just thinking about it.

Next we whisked off to Scotland for a couple of weeks of scholarly pursuit by my Henry with our Professor friends, Janey & Peter, at the University of Aberdeen. That's what the pictures at right are all about. It's been a tremendous trip for Henry's academic pursuits. We have been treated like VIPs by all. But, my head is a little sore from thinking so hard; I can only imagine that Henry's is banging around inside his skull. Hanging around with really, really smart people for extended periods of time is challenging -- in a very good way, of course.

We also had the chance to see our wonderful longtime friend Nick, who is the one who introduced us to Janey & Peter, and we all spent a lovely weekend at J & P's home in the Aberdeenshire countryside. What an incredible privilege it is to have friends such as these. I feel very honored to be here, frankly.

I had big plans for the time I would be on my own this trip, plans for when Henry would be meeting with various Professors and such. I even brought my computer and my novel notebook and planned to write in the mornings while he was gone. ha ha ha ha ha ha I have actually written almost nothing. My computer has been used solely for Tiger baseball and Facebook/email postings.

Instead, I have been enjoying just walking around Aberdeen, going to museums, looking at interesting things in shops and bookstores. I've spent several mornings and afternoons on the couch here in our flat, reading and drinking tea. I'm reading Peter's wonderful new "Distance and Memory" and he and Janey's "The Lost City: Old Aberdeen" and some excellent police procedurals from Aberdonian Stuart MacBride which feature Detective Sergeant Logan McRae. I've got the high, and the low-brow of Aberdeen covered, and it makes for some fun walks when I go out -- every police car speeding by has Logan and DI Steele or Insch inside. And, I hear Peter and Janey's words in my head up in the Old Town when I'm there, too.

Just a few blocks from the flat is the Aberdeen Art Gallery which is currently featuring the Scottish painter Peploe. I've been to look at it a couple of times and attended a lunchtime talk there, too. And, last Thursday (and tomorrow), next door to the gallery at Cowdry Hall there have been University musicians doing lunchtime talks and concerts. Last week was a young baritone with some really lovely selections sung in an old hall for an appreciative audience.

In spite of the fact that I have almost no words on paper (or screen) to show for this time here, I do know that there has been a lot of writing going on in my head. I used to think that recognizing this cerebral activity was just a form of excuse-making, a bit of justifying laziness, but experience as taught me otherwise. I am onloading/downloading so much right now, I feel on the verge of a major brain dump soon. Look out!
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