Penelope Hamilton

As a child, I assumed I’d be writer. At home I daydreamed, earwigged conversations and took notes, and at school I worked hard at my novel (sometimes during lesson-time, with the teacher’s permission!). If I wasn’t reading or playing outdoors, I was writing stories and poems and recording my life and thoughts in a succession of secret journals. But by the time I went to University I’d stopped believing in myself as a writer.

I was a teacher for 20 years, and a civil servant with the Scottish Government for 10. I came to the Highlands to work at the Crofters Commission. Then, in 2006, my 19-year-old daughter died in a car crash, and grief and the experience of organising her funeral lead to my decision to train as a humanist celebrant.

Through everything, I continued to write, and to procrastinate about writing…

My seventh decade was nearing its end when a voice in my head started saying things like, “Why don’t you stop making excuses? Why don’t you get on with it and WRITE? Like everyone else, you’re MORTAL! Why don’t you FINISH something before you die?”

Eventually I listened to the voice and stepped back from my work as a celebrant. Now, mostly to keep myself at it, I upload poems to my website ‘Human Nature Notes’, and for the same reason I make a monthly 5-10 minute podcast. I’m also working on the umpteenth draft of a novel, and a memoir about being a celebrant.

After more or less living on the road in my campervan for 12 years, going to beautiful Highland wedding spots, I’ve settled in Beauly and I love it.

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