PlaySpace News September 2018

Burning Words by Morag AndersonBurning Words-Cover-Small

We launched Burning Words at the Mitchell Library with six readers: Sheila Buchanan, Terry Durkin, Debbie MacRae, Mairi Murphy, Pat Sutherland and Larry Butler.  Each of a chose two favourite passages from the book to read.  We were delighted to welcome Morag’s friends and family.  I brought 30 copies of the book thinking I would be doing well to sell 20. All 30 were sold and orders for 10 more.  I only have a few copies left, so there will probably be a second edition.  This book raises money for Childline Scotland, and I’ve already sent them one cheque.  At the memorial service in Summer 2017, opera singer Rosha Fitzhowle sang Ae Fond Kiss.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. When she arrived at the launch in September, I asked her if she would sing at the end and she agreed. This time it was Danny Boy – and more wet eyes!

Here is a review of Burning Words by Donny O’Rourke

Autumn Voices

Autumn Voices Over 70 Poetry Competition 2018
THE AUTUMN VOICES OVER 70 POETRY COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED                                Rather appropriately for an over 70 competition, there were over 70 entries – 76 to be exact. 37 came from Scotland, 33 from England, 1 from Wales, 1 from Northern Ireland and 4 from the USA. 13 of the entries were submitted by people over 80, including one person who was 90 years old. Our experienced, award-winning adjudicator, the poet A.C.Clarke, is now reading the poems. The winners will be informed on 30th September 2018 and the results posted on this blog, shortly after, including the short list and the long list. Soon after this the winning poems will be posted, along with a brief interview with the winner and the adjudicator’s report. Thanks to all those who took part in the competition.

Robin Lloyd-Jones – Competition Secretary

Winter Writing Retreat – 4th to 11th January 2019

A peer-based residential Winter writing retreat It will be similar to Wolf at the Door, and Arvon writing retreats we’ve attended. The retreat will have loose programme with maximum time for writing, opportunities for sharing and feedback, as well as walks, reading, optional writing workshops, meditating, dancing, whatever we like.

A friend has offered us her castle near Auchtermuchty called Myres at cost price (eg. for heating, laundrey, and the like) – £25.00 per person per night – £175, plus food. We will offer a Dana sliding scale – some paying more some less. We have a volunteer cook – also a writer – Sue Ruben, who will be organising the evening meals. We are thinking of having both breakfast and lunch a moveable feast with folk making their own whenever they are hungry. A winter soup will be prepared daily. So it would be mainly dinners to help prepare. Food will be vegetarian, with option for vegan and gluten free.

We would like to keep the group small – a maximum of 12 people who are committed to attend the whole week. Interested?

Initially we are sending this invitation to 12 friends who we know like to write. Please reply by the 5th September. If we haven’t received 12 “yeses” by then, we will send it out to other writer friends. Do get in touch if you have any questions.

your aye,
Larry & Ratnadevi

PS. Myres Castle is a Scottish castle situated in Fife near the village of Auchtermuchty. Its history is interleaved with that of nearby Falkland Palace with castle construction dating to 1530. Address: Station Rd, Cupar KY14 7EW

Living Our Dying – David Donnison and friends

Living Our Dying is likely to be the next book from PlaySpace Publications.  I would welcome help with editing and proof-reading. We have a potential publisher – Scotland Street Press. They published It Takes a Life Time to become Yourself – by Kay Carmichael, edited with commentary by David.  I would like to see this in print and available by the anniversary of David’s death – April 2019. If SSP can’t do it by then, PlaySpace publications will do a limited edition. I will be working on this book during the Winter retreat at Myres Castle.

Here are some notes David wrote before he died:

When we’ve made progress with that we can start revising and expanding what we’ve written, consider the best order in which to present it, and polish up the whole work.

There are about nine pieces which I have circulated to the Group as early drafts of chapters of the book and I think each of you will have had these. But if I have missed any of you out please let me know.

Then there are masses of notes, short essays, book reviews. etc. – impossible to summarise – written for various purposes. Some of these should be revised and developed to go in the book, and some of those have already been circulated to the group

The group David mentions above is called Die-a-log – we’ve been meeting for 7 years talking about death in all its aspects from writing our own eulogies, donating our bodies to medical science, self-deliverance, euthanasia, death of a neighbour, grief, legacy, etc. We’ve collected poems, epitaphs, funeral stories, etc.  From the first group that met in David Donnison flat not long after his wife’s death, Kay Carmichael, Die-a-log groups have sprouted like strawberry plants around the UK.

seeds migrate
on september winds
thistle dandelion willowherb
air fills with white longing
for new places to belong
as new thoughts fly from
human brains longing to
grow new synapses
splitting time in two


Larry Butler, 26th September 2018