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Checking Out for a Spell

And so I bid adieu to Glasgow.

Highlights of the trip include two spectacular dinners at The Buttery and 78 St Vincent, walks along pedestrian malls (Oxford Street, take note) and some beautiful architecture. I also very much enjoyed the kind folk at the Glasgow Film Theatre, where I saw The Orphanage and Lars and the Real Girl.

I urge you all to see the former, but not read anything about it. The less you know, the better. Just go. Right now. Go on. Email me once you've seen it and we'll talk.

I found LARTG to be one of the most beautiful and lovely fables about acceptance and the glory of community that I've ever seen. Gosh, between this film and Juno, you'd think nobody would ever want to leave the Midwest. Who knew I'd be weeping (and from the sniffles at yesterday's matinée, I wasn't the only one) at an alleged comedy about a man who falls in love with a sex doll? It's so much more than that. Ryan Gossling gives another spellbinding performance, and the supporting players are all spot on — especially Patricia Clarkson (who is never bad) and Lars' brother and sister-in-law, played by Paul Schneider and Emily Mortimer. The whole cast was just perfect, as was the script. I really can't recommend it enough.

Lowlights include the hotel, where Quality was certainly only a name and not a value. It was noisy (drunks in hallways *and* mechanical noises that sound like an airplane is taking off every couple of hours), in terrible disrepair, and, well, sort of filthy. I did an experiment on the first day in the bathroom, writing "Clean Me" on the tile wall above the bathroom mirror. Three days later, my message remains (there's a photo, but I didn't bring my USB cable). Plus, it's hard to ever feel really clean when the shower (even after it's run for five minutes) looks brown in the bottom of the white tub. Classy. That's what we get for booking something over the web. You'd think we'd realize that what shows up at the door isn't necessarily what's advertised on the web. Gee, I thought that only applied to Internet dating, not hotel shopping as well.


So now I'm off to Inverness, where my writing workshop will begin tonight. I'm very excited but also a little apprehensive about living with 16 new people for the rest of the week. And then there's the prospect of having a new roommate. It's all very first day of college and moving into the dorm ... except I was 18 then and not nearly so crabby set in my ways.

Everyone I know who's attended one of these Arvon courses has found them to be magic, and I have no reason to think my experience will be anything less. I'm pretty sure there's not Internet access, so this site might be kinda dull for the rest of the week. Hey, what do you mean, "it's okay, we're used to that."

I reckon there'll be mobile access (or maybe not ... I'm 13 miles west of Inverness, up in the hills near Loch Ness), so perhaps there'll be some Twitteriffic updates.

Alright then, off to check out of the hotel. To complain or not to complain, that is the question.