April 18, 2011 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
Scotland’s literary community is amazing, but it can be…incestuous.
One example: when I first arrived in the UK many and many a year ago, I applied for a job in a literature-related area and got an interview, but couldn’t go any further because it turned out that the weekly hours violated my student visa restrictions. Years later, I worked twice for the same person I’d previously applied to (who had since changed workplaces) – one of those times alongside the person who’d arranged that long-ago interview – and after the second short-term contract, I went straight into another workplace where I was not only working (again) alongside that person, but another of my co-workers was my ex-manager’s spouse.
We may as well just all be related to ourselves.
And at this stage in my career, something like that seems to happen every week. As mentioned, I recently read at an Edinburgh International Science Festival event – the Genomics Poetry Competition Reading Party. And I knew everyone else involved either because I’d read with them before (Russell Jones, at the Captain’s Bar last August), or they’re in an anthology that my now-publisher published (Sophie Cooke, The Year of Open Doors, Cargo Publishing), or because of my Bright Ideas fellowship (Pippa Goldschmidt), or simply because I’d seen them around a lot at other events (Kona McPhee).
It was a great event. I’d read at the SPL before but because this was a Science Festival event it felt slightly less as though everyone in the room knew each other – a few more drops of fresh blood, as it were. Also, any excuse to read a dramatic monologue about a Time Lord!
(I don’t seem to have mention that this poem, and another, were accepted by New Writing Scotland 29. Huzzah!)
Unexpectedly, Russell asked in the middle of his own reading for a volunteer, because he had a dialogue between two particles in the Large Hadron Collider. And I, being jazzed up from my own reading, said ‘sure!’ and ended up on stage (such as it was), reading half of a dialogue I’d just been handed. I tried to inject the appropriate amounts of drama, and the audience seemed to appreciate it, so perhaps there will be an opportunity for a repeat performance.
Photographic evidence here: http://twitpic.com/4kg1o1