With all this end of year nonsense, I’d clean forgotten to post about my latest column for Shoreline of Infinity. S0 here’s a belated bump for it.
This one is called ‘Noise and Sparks: Interlude‘ – and it is, in a way. ‘Interlude’ reflects on the change of the seasons, and thoughts this provokes as we hurtle inexorably towards the year’s end.
Also in this issue, you’ll find stories by Bo Balder, Hannah Lackoff, Victoria Zelvin, Katy Lennon, Russell Jones and many more. There’s an interview with Steven Palmer, and a review of Empire Games by Charles Stross – which makes a great preview for his upcoming appearance at Shoreline’s next Event Horizon showcase in February. Chris Kelso gives a glowing review to Thirty Years of Rain, the Glasgow SF Writers Circle anthology which features my poem ‘Picture, of a Winter Afternoon.’ Additionally, this issue boasts the first of a new cover series by Stephen Pickering. So it’s well worth a look, I reckon. Click here to pick it up from the Shoreline website.
I’d been wondering why everyone was taking so long. As the crowd moved, the full length of St Vincent Street appeared ahead, from the tickertape starting line to, at its far end, a startlingly abrupt 30 degree slope — the kind of horrific steepness that, as a kid, your Mum would tell you off for biking down without your brakes on. My impatience vanished, leaving a single thought: “how the hell am I getting through this?”
The theme of this run is Sabotage. It’s been a tough year. My health hasn’t been great — I’ve lost three months of training to injury — a broken toe and a twisted ankle. Life issues have proved difficult to deal with, and that’s impacted on my well-being and my creativity. At times, it’s been overwhelming. Whether physical or mental — Beastie Boys or Cancer Bats — Sabotage has dogged my every step this year.
But I’m still here. More than that — I’m in Glasgow, living amongst good friends, studying a fascinating course in Fantasy, and beginning to find my own way in the world.
So what better way to celebrate that than running 13 miles through one of the hilliest cities in the country — and raising money for charity to boot?
So why SAMH? SAMH support those living in Scotland with mental health issues, as well as their families and carers. There are community-based programmes for everything from housing to addiction. They run the national anti-stigma campaign See Me, and the anti-bullying campaign Respect Me. They also provide employment support, as well as a host of information and advice. Whether you’re a student looking for a bit of extra support as you make this massive life change, or a carer looking after a someone with a mental health condition, this is the place to go.
If you’d like to help me support SAMH and their excellent work, please head to the link below to sponsor my run.
It’s occurred to me that there were a couple of things missing off the blog from the other week. So now the smoke’s cleared a bit from Satellite 5, here’s a little extra news for you.
Firstly – new photos! Drowned In Sound have uploaded a selection of my shots from Emma Pollock‘s recent gig at the O2 Academy’s upstairs room the other week. If you’ve not heard any of her work post-Delgados, new record In Search of Harperfield really is a gem. Meantime, there’s a link to the photos below.
Secondly, the juries for this year’s British Fantasy Awards have been announced. For the first time, I’ll be joining the panel judging the Non-Fiction Award, completed by Martin Petto and Kev McVeigh. We’ve already had some interesting discussions, and I think I can speak for my fellow jury members in saying we’re looking forward to getting stuck in to the final shortlist. The winners will be announced at this year’s Fantasycon By the Sea, held by the British Fantasy Society over the weekend of 23rd – 25th September in Scarborough.
While I’m here, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who made it along to the readings on Saturday night at last weekend’s Satellite 5 convention in Glasgow – as well as all those who had a hand in a splendid con. Many thanks also to Helen Sansum for this lovely photo, taken in the mid-way through a story about stories…
I ran a half-marathon on Sunday. And I have you to thank for it.
There I was, waiting in the Pink Wave, watching those in front crossing the starting line, and wondering why so many of them were just walking across it, instead of running, and getting on their way. Then I looked ahead, up St Vincent Street. Way, way up…
It’s nearly here! Just two more days until the Great Scottish Run kicks off in Glasgow, where I’ll be running in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. I’ve got my shirt, I’ve got my race number, and my wave. All that’s left is to actually do the thing.
I’m doing Glasgow’s Great Scottish Run. I know, I must be a glutton for punishment after last year, right? Well, maybe that’s true – I’ve been in training for a few months now and, well, real life hasn’t made that an easy task, frankly. However, all those difficult weeks are starting to pay off now, as I’m hitting the long distances. And this time out, I’ve got some extra motivation from the reasons why I’m doing this run.
I don’t want to be the only one getting the benefit from all this training. So I’ll be running in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, and the magnificent work they do with both sufferers and their loved ones. I’ve set up a JustGiving page for donations, if you’re able to do make one. And if you can’t, I’ll be telling you how you can help me support Macmillan without spending a penny.
Tony Ballentyne’s blog series How Writers Write is exactly that. Once a month, he’s interviewed folk like Keith Brooke and Neil Williamson and they’ve duly answered – on where they write, choices of style, and what helps them get into the right frame of mind to create great stories. You’ll find rare insights into the creative process of some ace writers, so it’s well worth a browse.
A few weeks ago, Tony dropped me an email with a few of the same questions, and you’ll find my answers (complete with a guest appearance from Millie the cat) in the latest installment.
NEW NEWS: Starting this week, I’ll be writing a monthly column for alternative culture mag Mass Movement magazine. It’s called Ruth Writes – although she doesn’t this time. Since I’ve been a bit busy, my agent kindly stepped in at the last minute. With interesting results…
I ran a Half Marathon yesterday. So here’s a quick post to say thank you.
According to the provisional timings I made it to the finish line in 2 hours, 19 minutes and 10 seconds – pretty nice for a first half marathon, I reckon. And so much the better to learn that you’ve now helped me raise more than £300 for Mind – with payday still to come!
Most of all, this is for you lot. Thank you all, so much, for all your support – whether you’ve made a donation, suggested a song to help me along, or wished me luck on the way to this day. I’ve never done so much as a fun run before now. I honestly could not have done this without you. Thank you.
While I’m still collecting up photos and things, if you’ve yet to do so, and you’d like to make a donation to my fundraising efforts for Mind, the link is here
Finally, I’d like to say a massive thank you to all the wonderful folks at Mind and Tyneside Mind for all their support and encouragement, as well as the organisers at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. Thank you, guys – you’re ruddy splendid!
One day to go before The Big Day, and I have to say this, first of all:
You lot bloody well did it, didn’t you?
More than £200 raised for the mental health charity Mind, plus another £46.25 in Gift Aid. And that’s with payday donations still to be added. Thank you everyone, so, so much for supporting me and Mind. This donation is going to make such a difference to people’s lives, truly.