Recently I was awarded one of the first Artist Bursaries in Creative Scotland‘s new scheme to support artists at critical points in their career. This sum of money has come at the most vital time for me, just when I am developing my work rapidly into prose, alongside poetry.
I wrote the first draft of my memoir, Thank You So Much For Writing mostly in the dark… getting up at 5 in the morning to try and think and write before everyone woke up and the day began. It was exciting… but exhausting and I realised the hard way that the marathon that is prose writing cannot really be done as I had managed with poetry – in corners and without inconveniencing anyone. Writing my memoir has proved inconvenient for everyone… and I realise this is how it should be.
Now I am in the early stages of a second work of creative non-fiction: a memoir that includes a relationship across time between myself and WH Auden… as you might imagine this takes a lot of thought. The Artist Bursary has enabled me to buy time – some of it even in daylight – to pursue this project, as well as continuing to develop Thank You So Much for Writing and completing a new poetry collection. It’s a huge undertaking, this transition, and it’s expensive… of time, and therefore of money.
It is impossible to do proper creative work without support, whether it be the unofficial help of partners and friends or injections of hard cash. I am deeply grateful to Creative Scotland for their demonstration of faith in my ideas, and their investment in my work.