First an individual writer I found while surfing away an idle moment: Fiona Lang, who lives “in a little cottage with a fine view across the Cromarty Firth”. You can read three stunning short stories of hers HERE.
I think my favourite is We Might Be Lucky, but all three bear the mark of the same artist who can create in less than 500 words a character and a setting that is quite unforgettable.
And while we’re visiting the Highlands, can I draw your attention to the site of HISSAC, the Highlands & Islands Short Story Association? More amazing stories – you might like to start with this one, First and Last by David Ford. These people are geniuses at painting a picture, creating an atmosphere: in this case, a town, a pub, a drinker. This story reminded me of the 12th-century Archpoet’s
Meum est propositum in taberna mori,
ut sint vina proxima morientis ori.
tunc cantabunt letius angelorum chori:
“Sit Deus propitius huic potatori
(My purpose is to die in a tavern,
so that wine might be close to my dying mouth.
Then a choir of angels will happily sing,
“May God be merciful toward this drinker.”
But where the Archpoet looks at death in a tavern through rose-tinted spectacles, the fitting end to a happy life, David Ford sees it all, the life and the death, through a sheet of cold grey drizzle. The last line of the poem, though, “May God be merciful toward this drinker,” applies just the same.
You can find it, and some other great short stories HERE.