The open mic evening on Tuesday evening arranged in collaboration with the Franco-Scottish Society was wonderful. We met in a different venue from our usual – the Ness Room at the Waterside Hotel (which is now owned by the adjacent Glen Mhor) and I felt this room gave us a bit more ‘room to breathe.’
The event was chaired with great warmth and grace by the wonderful Jane Mackenzie, from Plockton (a fluent French speaker who spends part of her time in French Catalonia): Jane had a perceptive, encouraging comment for each of those who read. We heard poems, excerpts from works-in-progress, and short passages from published novels – Jane herself read a section of her latest work, Tapestry of War.
HighlandLIT Chair Paul Shanks began the evening by reminding us of Samuel Beckett’s life in Paris, and reading us some short poems Beckett composed while there. Later, Jayne Austin read us a section from Rooms of One’s Own – 50 Places that Made Literary History, by Adrian Mourby describing James Joyce’s many years in the French capital.
To all these positive things was added a sense of what I can only describe as fellowship as we listened to one another, appreciatively and supportively as people shared. Many of us felt, sitting there that this is HighlandLIT at its very best; this is what HighlandLIT is for.
We could have sat much longer in the Ness Room, discussing writing, but many of us moved across to the Glen Mhor Hotel where a meal with members of the Franco-Scottish Society had been arranged.
(Jane Mackenzie in action)