Going the distance

At one stage, early on in “The Scottish Ambassador” process, I thought writing this book would be a fairly straightforward task. After all, this is not my first book. I wrote my first one when I was six. How hard could another one be?

My writing career has shown some consistencies over the decades. My first and current books show some important similarities. Both, for instance, feature dragons—more heartwarmingly in “Helicopter the Dragon”, more cynically in “The Scottish Ambassador”. [I’ve also finished a few scripts. None of them featured dragons, which was perhaps their downfall.]

Both, at various stages of their incarnation, have been thrust eagerly at my parents for review. “The Scottish Ambassador”, chapter by chapter; “Helicopter”, before and after I bound its eight pages together with stolen knitting wool. “Helicopter” was definitely the more warmly received of the two.

However, I can’t help but notice that compared to “Helicopter”, “The Scottish Ambassador” has been a lot more time-consuming. And it has required me to travel quite a lot further. “Helicopter’s” sole journey was from my bedroom to the playroom to pilfer wool. “The Scottish Ambassador” has stacked up rather more distance than that return trip down two flights of stairs. I’ve covered somewhere around 30,000 miles, even by a conservative estimate.

The net tells me that Scotland is 274 miles, north to south, so I’ve done the equivalent of 55 return trips from the Borders to Thurso. I’ve never done that actual trip. It seems funny to have travelled so far, but seen so little of Scotland. Billy Connolly had some skit where he mocked the line so many non-Scots say to us, “I’ve been all around the world, but I’ve never been to Scotland.” I feel a bit like that tonight.

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