Martin Russell

I sent you a rose by Martin Russell

For Ruth


I sent you some songs,

booming across the sands;

you sent me some swallows,

a whole aerobatic team.


Then I remembered

the tattoo that hid

your Hickman line scar.


I sent you a rose

by way of the sea,

I watched it float, then disappear

as if you had grabbed it.

I turned away,

and noticed that the sky

was empty again,

and that I was alone.

Hello there, I am a sixty three year old writer, living in Inverness. I have been a member of HighlandLit since its early days, and have enjoyed many of its writing orientated events.


I got interested in writing while leading a ‘second chance’ adult education project in a deprived area of Kilmarnock in the 1980s, where I set up and ran the  weekly Onthank Writer’s Workshop. The group self published an anthology of their work, and hosted evenings with occasional guests like local writer, Willie McIlvanney.  I had a go at writing poems and short stories, but didn’t take it that seriously.


Later on, I became more interested in writing and recording my own songs. It started slowly, but gathered momentum when I hooked up with Davie Munro at Camden Street Studios in Evanton. Davie became my mentor and helped me to record a bunch of my songs which were issued in CD form, as Gairloch Moon in 2008. I was also lucky to have the services of a gifted guitarist in Donald Forbes. At the time of writing I am recording another CD called Foreverly which should be released later this year. Lyric writing, to my mind is the toughest writing discipline, because song lines require rhythm and meter, while retaining meaning.


I suffer from a bipolar condition, and joined HUG: Action for Mental Health some time after coming to Inverness on the 1990s. HUG ran a weekly writing group, and also arranged some residential weekend writing retreats at Moniack Mhor. My confidence as a writer grew through these involvements, and I had a go at writing a novel, Michael Harvey Holds His Own, which failed to find a publisher. I now view it as a valuable learning experience.


I found my literary ‘feet,’ as it were, in the writing of short stories, culminating in my recent collection, RATTLESKIN. It is a book of twenty nine short stories, some humorous, and some poignant, that had been kindly endorsed by many happy readers, and by local writers like Cynthia Rogerson and Helen Forbes. I mainly retail the book myself.


I also like to write poetry, though I am completely untutored in it, I don’t know what the rules are supposed to be, so I do what I like. I’ve thought about producing a slim volume, but I don’t know if it would be brazen cheek! I do think that poetry allows the most direct, but also the most abstract use of language, so it interests me. Watch this space.

Frozen points by Martin Russell

December whiteout


A meadow of snowmen


Frozen points again

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