When I first arrived, I was yearning for a new experience. For years I read of your hauntings, history, and entangling stories. There was Mary Queen of Scots, the witches, the loch, the writers… Your city throngs with famous writers. Each one added to the culture of Scotland or captured it. Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott… the list goes on and on wrapping its words endlessly around the city.
Before I embarked for the journey, I was at a restless point in my job. There was no progress, no glimpse of a raise, no acceptance, and it seemed drama and sexism reigned in the field. I was working overtime every week, and everything I did seemed to be wrong because I couldn’t always do what everyone wanted me to. The job wasn’t bad, I actually loved what I did for the most part, but I found it hard to write anymore. My brain was exhausted from the long day, and I just wanted an escape from a computer screen.
Writing used to be that escape, but it grew to be a chore in college.
I had lost the love of my life. (No, he didn’t die. I royally screwed it up.) I was suffering the effects of a mentally abusive relationship. My job was consuming me. I wasn’t sure where to go or how to progress up the ladder. I wasn’t doing what I truly wanted to do. I wasn’t becoming the writer I dreamed of, and the list seemed to go on and on.
That’s why I applied for a writing internship in your city, and I was accepted.
I had nothing to lose. If I lost my job, it didn’t matter. I would be able to find something else at the same wage easily. There was no one tying me down to the area, and there was a ceaseless need to travel which wouldn’t be quenched until I did so.
Surprisingly, before I left I got a job raise, my work granted me leave for the internship, and I kept my job. Crazy, right?
The day I stepped into your fair city, it was warmer than I expected for August, but there were the dreary, comforting skies. I was placed into a recently vacated apartment smelling of ramen noodles in the Haymarket area. My expectations were high for the trip. The internship aspect didn’t meet them, but your city by far did. I gained new friendships, saw breathtaking sites, delved amongst your history, learned freedom, learned to love myself, remembered who I was, and had the adventure of a lifetime. How many people can say they’ve experienced that?
You did surprise me when you were far warmer than what was to be expected. I packed for winter, not the spring weather I received. Despite that, I still had some cold days and absolutely dreary days which to me are amazing. I remember one day in particular…
I had recently gotten a strawberry tart and some macarons from a bakery. The strawberry tarts were glistening in the window. How could I resist? There’s nothing like them in America. When I left the shop it started to rain. People opened their umbrellas, huddled together against the cold wind, and continued on their way. I wrapped my coat a little tighter and put my hood on, but the wind wouldn’t let it be so I gave up.
I walked down the hill along North Bridge to Princes Street. I stopped along the bridge. People were scarce, and the rain turned into a light mist. The city was draped in crystal beads with hidden mysteries, centuries of history, and boundless number of dreamers. It was a city of hope. A city for new beginnings. A city to become what you wanted. It didn’t matter that I was becoming drenched the longer I stood there. People probably thought I was crazy, but all I could do was smile. I was the happiest I had been in so long.
Among your streets I was disconnected from technology, from the world I was constantly tethered to back home. Negative social media, hopeless news, and belligerent people consumed every second of the day. Hope was hardly a thing to be found anymore.
Your people know how to work, but they also know how to have fun. You have a good blend of pleasure and business which I wish would rub off on other places. Your taverns were a mixture of everyday people to hot spot dance halls. The fact that you could honestly go to a pub and sit alone was the most refreshing thing! In America, if you go out alone you’re seen as an outcast. Something surely is wrong with you or else someone would be with you.
Edinburgh accepts people for who they are and embraces their independence!
When I walked among your streets, I wasn’t seen as weird. People joined in conversation with me, and I was always learning something new. One man stopped to speak with me in Princes Street Gardens while I admired the military bear. He told me the story behind it, and I stood there quietly listening and smiling. You could tell he was a veteran and a man who loved his country and the Polish. It wasn’t until I spoke that he recognized I wasn’t from the area.
Seems I blend in well… if it weren’t for my accent.
Learning of all the writers based in your city and finding the inspiration to their stories helped me find inspiration to write once again. I found myself writing postcards back home, travel articles for the internship, and wanting to write stories once again. I wanted to continue telling the stories of Edinburgh. Yes, many have already been told, but I want to be among one of those creative writers. I know… there’s a million people like me. I’m no different than any of them, but it is nice to dream sometimes.
I won’t ever become the published author I dreamed of (still dream of) or even earn money from any of my writing, but at least I fell in love with the concept again. For awhile I thought it completely disappeared. Ever since I could remember I’ve delved into writing as an escape. Once that was gone, I couldn’t fathom what to do with myself. Everything seemed to be a despair and pointless. But your city gave me hope once again. So many people fail, there can’t be winners unless there are failures. That’s fine now, because at least if I fail, I know I at least tried. You made me remember that.
There is no amount of words to convey how grateful I am to your city for giving me back myself. I was lost to the point I thought there was no return, but you changed it all. Yes, I’m writing this letter a few years too late, but you’re always in my mind. One day I will return. I have to get back to that feeling once again. It’s almost an addiction. The dark mystery, hidden secrets, boundless history, and numerous stories. I want to know everything and continue to delve in the creative energy your city seems to endlessly feed to open minds.
Here’s to you Edinburgh… Here’s to the city which ceases to amaze and inspire!
The One You Inspired
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As a woman living in the late 19th Century, Victoria Woodhull dared to challenge social expectations. She was seen as a free spirit. A woman who dared to dream. A woman who believed she could make her own way. Paired with her sister, Tennie, the two find themselves thrown into the newest election far more than they expected. With a new printing press, an affair, the re-emergence of an estranged love, and running for presidency, Victoria Woodhull finds herself a bit in over her head. Everything she fights for might become her demise.