There was an element of truth to the book. At first, when I started writing it, I drew on my life. But fiction took over. I never saw rock people for instance. Nor did we live in a caravan. Also, never in my life have I dragged some unsuspecting young man into my home for the purpose of sex. I’ve never even fantasised about that one. There are loads of other total lies, made up stories that are in the book simply to entertain. Like the Dutch woman with the antlers and the dildo – I made it up. Sorry.
I am a single mother, so that much is true. I lived on a council estate in Portree, on the Isle of Skye for many years. I had a wonderful dog, a black lab/ collie cross called Niamh. And yes, I found the benefits system to be soul destroying. If you find any other bits of truth, let me know!
Some folk say the book is literary fiction. Others say magical realism. Poetic prose is a phrase most people use to describe it. A Wicca woman said she would have taught it at secondary level if she’d had the chance. A lot of people see themselves in it, or parts of themselves, whether good or bad. But everyone agrees on one thing – the mother/daughter/nature thing is just gorgeous.
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“Past the pier. Balamory styled coloured doors. Past the queue of b&bs. Along the shore old boats die, caged fish grow and nosey seals are shot. By the posh hotel. Through dog shite alley. To the sea, to the sea. To the secret garden of the rock people.
They fell from the mountain many years ago. The entire village of stone landed on the path above the cliffs. You find a stick. Your limited vocabulary tells me you think it is a magic wand. You knock on rock. And call out in greeting. Some ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼words I know as English, but mainly it is yabbering. Nonsense ramblings. I translate automatically, in tune with your imaginings.
A small squat boulder has a recess for a door and a nook of moss for a doorbell. You ring the bell but nothing happens so you take the stick and strike the door. One word, a name, is called.
“Kaku,” you say.
“Come Kaku, out!” The eyes in your head light as he opens his door and shows himself. You stoop suddenly and pick a little pebble off the ground. Offer it over. And it is gone, taken.
“Songu,” you say. “Come Songu, out!”
And the second one appears from the recess in the rock. You bend just then and snatch at a stalk of green, hold it up to the one called Songu.
I sit on another rock, probably another dwelling. I watch. I see their round ruddy faces. They are low and grey. Their ears and noses are large and their eyes are tiny. Hair like heather grows out of their heads. He has a beard that may be some tangled lichen. Faded ferns form clothing.
Their voices are mumbles and are deep and gravely. Like little stones and pebbles being swept through a burn. Like the crunch of a stout boot into a mountain stream. Your voice is the tinkling of that clear water stream. You make light music of the air and Kaku and Songu ground it in the tones of all time.
Drinks are offered. You cup your hands and hold them out, little podgy doughy digits waiting for wonders. You sip, raising your baby hands to your mouth, and you make motions to me to do the same. And I do, I cup my hands together and hold them out. And then drink.”
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