On This Day...

At Edinburgh International Book Festival, we believe everyone has a story to tell and that through stories we can make sense of our world. As we hope for a brighter year ahead, and in celebration of the Year of Stories 2022, we want to spotlight Scotland's Stories Now.

For 6 weeks, we called for people across Scotland - of any age, background or ability - to submit their own stories responding to the prompt ‘On this day’, building a fascinating portrait of Scotland today. All stories are now featured on this page for the world to experience, enjoy, and respond to. 

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Scotland’s Stories Now, supported by EventScotland as part of the Year of Stories 2022, spotlights, celebrates and promotes the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland. Join the conversation using #YS2022 and #TalesOfScotland.

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EXPLORE STORIES

Drawing inspiration from any number of uniquely Scottish sources, from the landscape to myths and legends, or tackling the current issues that matter the most to all of us, here are some of Scotland's Stories Now.

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Fiction
Non-Fiction
Poetry
Writing Prompt
Dialect
Play
Graphic Novel
aberdeen
shetland

A Geography of Rain

4th April 2022

Saturday Night, Oxgangs Drive, Edinburgh, Winter 1970 Mum, did they win, or did they lose? Later that night. The sound of a taxi coming up the drive, I am wide awake now, taxi door slams shut. Footsteps coming up the stairs. The key turn...

Skyscraper Garden

4th April 2022

Tilly woke gasping on her first morning in Hong Kong, worried the pollution had already crammed down into her lungs. She was buried alive, twelve flights above the ground, in a Tsuen Wan studio flat. Instead of buying a sim card and sort...

The Seal

3rd April 2022

I was walking home along the Clyde after the first day of a three day training course. I had done that exact training course less than a month earlier but an admin error and subsequent bureaucracy led to my having no choice but to repeat...

Ancient Isle

3rd April 2022

Orkney’s ancient civilisation has always reimagined itself, to forge a brighter future for the next generation… Born to the wintery archipelago in the North Sea, Orkney will always draw me back home. The wild landscapes change with a...

The Angel’s Share

3rd April 2022

The Angel’s Share is strong today. The smell of barley is heavy in the air, clinging to it in the same way the smell of rain lingers on tarmac. The river that feeds the distillery is running swiftly, swollen by weeks of rain, but today...

Clydebank, Lost in the Flames

3rd April 2022

“Breathe,” Lily told herself. “LILY!” Her mother screamed. Promptly snapping out of her daydream, Lily ran to catch up with her family, her small frame buckling under the weight of her suitcase. As she grasped her mothers hand sh...

5 x 2

3rd April 2022

Fair hair. The blue eyes of a northern tribe. From Western Scotland, perhaps, or Northern Ireland, the islands in between, or some Jutland inlet. A short, wiry build. Not a tall Nordic warrior. We wish! Compact, latent energy, a good eng...

An Unusual Party

3rd April 2022

November 1st was Meg Hart’s 11th birthday. The twins had had themselves a good Hallowe’en and decided to take her a party – a big bag of Cheesy Wotsits and a bottle of Cola. They didn’t tell their mum because they knew she’d sa...

The Cailleach

3rd April 2022

On this day, she abandons her bones in search of wood. In their den, they watch her go; the deer with his birch-like antlers, the fox with the frost-cracked orbital, the owl with her bones light like paper. Soon, soon they will cross. Ev...

Lost

3rd April 2022

There were lost pet posters on every lamp post … You would often see posters like this in other neighbourhoods, but never as many as this. It seems pets are going missing in Portobello on an industrial scale. Walking along the prom, I ...

Kindness

3rd April 2022

On this day,  cold and wintry, The train arrived late. Passengers hurried out. Her right leg disabled, She waited, struggled out, dragging a case behind her. The lift was broken, The stairs appeared forbidding, She stood, feeling helple...

Dawn Chorus

3rd April 2022

Rubbing my sleep-starved eyes I stretch my arm out to silence the monotonous tone of my alarm clock. I am eager to rise early and witness the new light. A gift from time’s forwarded, sixty-minute tick. Pyjama clad and double wrapped in...

Scotland versus England

3rd April 2022

On this day April 13th, 1946 Scotland played England in the football Victory International. The war had ended and part of the celebrations was a match between the oldest rivals in international football; 140,000 tickets were sold with 30...

An Edinburgh Sunday

3rd April 2022

It was a wet, windy Sunday in February 1955 and I was visiting my grandparents in Portobello. My Auntie was there too with her two children and as usual, the children were told to go through and leave the adults to have their blather. He...

25 October 2021

3rd April 2022

I wrote my sister from the hospital to ask if there was a history of high blood pressure in our family. I didn’t tell her that I was in the hospital, or that I was awaiting a scan. There was no point in worrying her, since everything w...

Portobello Beach – 22nd July 2020

3rd April 2022

Drawn out by the sunshine the socially distanced form a long stretched out queue outside the Beach House. They keep a safe distance, while worrying about the crowds and the unmasked. They cling to what to feels normal – The same aroma of...

17th February 2022

3rd April 2022

On this day a year ago, my true love went away. The end of five long years of care, she could no longer stay. I thought my life was over then, I was consumed by guilt But friendly folk were there to help, and my new life was built. We ha...

The Wee One

3rd April 2022

On this day I watch a plane fly across an empty sky. Not so many planes in our skies these days, after the pandemic you see. But it reminded me, brought me back to that day. Our plan to take the early evening flight from Borneo to Kuala ...

The Lonely Ghost

3rd April 2022

A translucent, pearly ghost leers close to the cliff edge, looking down at the rusty rocks and frothing waves below. She squeezes her lifeless eyes shut. Even if it were years ago, she can still remember. The feel of fingertips pressing ...

The Joy of Giving

3rd April 2022

On this day, We stood in the queue masked, one metre apart. Covid still lingered. You stood before me, bent over the trolley, Holding fast the handle. In it, a loaf of bread, a tin of something. Your fingers gnarled, Skin a parchment, Yo...

Isle of Muck

3rd April 2022

On this day 5 years ago, the first body was found. Since that day a body has been found every year. Everything changes each year, the victimology, the signature, the MO and COD. Before this, nothing had ever happened on Muck. If I solve ...

On This Day

3rd April 2022

On this day as I look down at Loch Lomond I wonder how he could jump, I wonder why he would leave me. As I look down again I let out a hysterical scream while I fall to the floor. I shout ‘’ how could you do this to me, how could you...

The Heist

3rd April 2022

It was a dull evening in the city of Edinburgh, the rain was rageful and streets were flooded. Paul was sitting in the warehouse waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive to finish the final planning for the jewellery store heist. The t...

On This Day

3rd April 2022

She goes to wake up little Allison. Her curly blonde hair laid out on the pillow. “Wake up Alli, time for school!”Allison rose out of her bed. Rhonda goes downstairs to make breakfast. Her eye bags were as dark as tar. She slams brea...

On This Day- A Highland Love Story

3rd April 2022

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK, I slowly walk toward the door, knowing who it might be backing aggressively on the door. I open the door and I see a seriously tall and old guy who was dressed incredibly smart giving me an intense death stare. “Ms A...

On this Day – Sister like Sister

3rd April 2022

Office doors opening and closing with “ding,dong,ding,dong….” noise. Anyways,my name is Lavender Ross Stirling, youngest daughter of Cameron Stirling.I have to someday inherit my dad’s company. I know what you are thinking. I’m t...

The Bunker

3rd April 2022

The year was 2522. I had arrived, it was the middle of the night but my surroundings were lit clearly by torches and flares lit by fellow survivors. It had only been nine hours since the government revealed the location of four out of fi...

On This Day

3rd April 2022

On this day, 6 years ago, my brother went missing in Loch Ness. They never found the body but I think I know why… It was Nessie, Nessie killed my brother. Ever since they gave up on him, I made it my mission to find Nessie and get my r...

Scotland’s Golden Generation

3rd April 2022

On this day in Scotland in 2026, Scotland beat Paraguay in the World Cup Final, the final score was 7-0 with Greg Taylor scoring all 7 goals. The man of the match was Scott McTominay because he got an assist. Scotland also won the Euros ...

Creative Writing 1/3/22

3rd April 2022

On this day in 2345 Scotland took over the world. It started off with Scotland taking over England and taking control of the rest of Britain. This is about a soldier who helped Scotland with taking over the world. I woke up on the 29th o...

On This Day 26 February 2022

3rd April 2022

It looks bright and sunny on the webcam. Blue sky and white clouds, sunny but cold I’m sure. I can see four towers two large, two small that rise above the other buildings. They are painted gold and the sun reflects brightly against th...

One Slip

3rd April 2022

‘A year ago today the death of King Alexander III was publicised’ I exclaimed. Every month each Scottish family was to remember the King. It could be reciting a prayer, having a special dinner. As we finish I walk over to the living ...

The Selkie Girl

3rd April 2022

On this day in 1967 a young family wakes up as their mother starts to make the fry-up.The day feels magical birds are chirping and as it is just a small coastal home that they live in the young boy asks his parents, “Dad please, please...

The Doll House Girl

3rd April 2022

It was Holly’s birthday and she opened her last gift, it was an antique doll house. Holly was so excited. One of her other favourite gifts was a tiny doll that was named annabelle. She would play with the dollhouse non stop. Holly’s pare...

Oui or No

3rd April 2022

The king stood on his Edinburgh Castle balcony and looked over his city, Edinburgh. He looked down over the rough and rocky drop. It was about 1000 feet. They were nearly in the new year. He had to make the decision to declare Scotland a...

On This Day

3rd April 2022

One day a little boy went down to a lake by himself. He saw something moving in the water so he decided to go into the water and see what it was. The water was as cold as ice, it was also very dirty as well. After a while of searching he...

The River’s Edge

3rd April 2022

I came prepared, my bathing suit on underneath my clothes. The air is brisk but warming steadily in the unseasonable sun. It’s the first day that gives a glimmer of hope for a summer still to come. The river is tucked away, accessible ...

Still Alive

30th March 2022

On this day last year, I wrote the message and forced myself to click ‘Send’. With my heart trying to jump out through the throat, with my body refusing to breathe. Then I stood up, went to the kitchen and put the kettle on. I looked...

Maine 21/01/2022

30th March 2022

Here I am a prisoner, with a view. My view is looking out on this drab corner of human existence. The weather and the time of year account for some of the drabness. It is early spring and the sun is making a half hearted effort. There ar...

Raise A Glass

29th March 2022

“Hello! Come on in, today’s the day, we’re celebrating!” “Er…celebrating what, exactly?” “The dawn of a new era. The post-Covid world. The end of the dark days of lockdowns, masks and isolation. Scotland’s bright, new b...

Two Little Girls

29th March 2022

On this day, Sunday February 26th at 13.15, my funny, sparkling, red haired granddaughter, Eve, shared the tears of another seven year old. A little girl in a far off land, with curly blond hair above wide, scared blue eyes, suddenly rem...

MERAPI AND MUSCA, ON THIS DAY, 22 02 22

29th March 2022

I listened to the tracks on the album whilst watching the webcam. I didn’t initially put it on. Hearing the audio vhf radio transmitter, live transmission, its high pitch sound reminded me of a Matthew Herbert’s album. So I played it...

Five

29th March 2022

On this day, I have a five year old; My hands find his legs are slimmed without that toddler squeeze, I can still lift him, hold him but not for so long – On this day, I have a five year old; No baby to lie with, face to face, eye to eye w...

The Kittiwakes

29th March 2022

Every spring there comes a day when suddenly the kittiwakes are back. Squawking and chattering non-stop like second year students returning after summer break, greeting old friends, catching up on the gossip, bickering for the best nesti...

Right To Roam

28th March 2022

9th February 2005, Land Reform Act We don’t want to break the law. We want to change it. This bill has been talked about since the 1890s but it was never allowed to get through. It’s almost the exact halfway point between the Winter ...

A Need For Change

27th March 2022

I needed a pee at Dundee. But there was a barrier… On this day, Hamilton Accies had drawn away with Arbroath and now I was returning home from Angus, catching a bus at Dundee. At the shop, I asked, “What change do I need for the toil...

It Happened Just as the Clock Struck Midnight

27th March 2022

My name is Ian, I am a Human Being. That was all, and it was enough – until it happened, just as the clock struck midnight. I suddenly knew – there I was looking down from above on myself, sleeping soundly on my very comfortable bed. For...

The Kirk

24th March 2022

On this day, in 1697, Evil came to church. The accused witch’s bloodstained, grey skirt dragged over the worn oak doorstep as she was hustled into Greyfriars Kirk by two burly soldiers. Plain white plastered walls, roughly hewn pews, si...

Newborn

23rd March 2022

The arc that you traced across my chest With the length of your arm as we lay at rest From our breathtaking Introduction Skin to skin while everyone slept To and fro, your finger tips swept Arm stretched just shy Of my tired neck line Ju...

The Big Thing Thit’s Iverywhere

23rd March 2022

She said, “Ye ken, its yon big thing. The big thing thit’s iverywhere! Ye cannie see it close up. Ye wid ken it. I jist cannie mind what it’s cawed!” She sat for a moment thinking, trying tae recall what the big thing thit wis iv...

Apiphobia

23rd March 2022

On this day, beginning of the Edinburgh Festival 2019, the sun beat down – not a rain cloud in the sky, but, as always, she was looking forward to Autumn when she could venture outside without being chased by bees or wasps. Buzz, Buzz ...

Genderization

22nd March 2022

on this day oor granddaughter cam tae bide nae fur lang it was oan her way she wis a very tall lassie taller than when we last seen her ah dinnae ken how she grew that big but her faither is tall though her mither is wee ah asked her if ...

Beyond The Sea Wall

19th March 2022

It was a blustery day – the kind of day when the sea gives up unwanted detritus from the slumbering deeps. A day when the wind blows the tops of the white horses onto the shore and the waves cast up strange dead creatures, old pieces of ...

On iss day bi Cedric e Flapper Skate

18th March 2022

I woke up iss mornin feelin rare! Aye, I wis feelin rare cos I’m a fine example o a flapper skate, bit syne I thocht I’m rare in anither wye inna. Did ye ken I’m even mair endangered than thon giant pandas in China or e blae whales...

The Rising Whispers of Edinburgh’s Witches

18th March 2022

The Flame of Remembrance There was a gentle flicker deep within her knowing, A flicker of a flame that had lain dormant for far too long. It sparked to life once again. Awakening an ancient knowing. That was fiercely focused and quietly ...

A Selkie’s Tale

18th March 2022

The first time he sees one, it seems like a shadow hovers in the tail of his eye. It shimmers in the liminal space between evening and sunset. But he’s heard the stories; has walked on the shore every morning, looking, searching, gazin...

Her Hands

18th March 2022

I had been in Edinburgh – “Auld Reikie” as the eighteenth-century poet Robert Fergusson referred to the city in his eponymous 300-line poem – for three months when, on a chilly but clear-skied December Saturday afternoon, I set out f...

On This Day

16th March 2022

‘Let’s go for a walk,’ I heard on this day as I lay dozing in front of the fire. My ears pricked at the sound and, involuntarily, my tail twitched. ‘We can have a drink at the pub.’ My ears went down again. I’ve been on these...

Little Tartan Beauty

15th March 2022

A Little tartan beauty Thats my Loganair flight Travelling between Glasgow Flying out of sight To Many destinations Morning noon and night That’s the little tartan beauty that’s right Campbeltown to Islay Tire to john o groats My little ...

On This Day

11th March 2022

On This Day …. my plan became reality. On this day, thirty-odd years ago, the thought came to me. Not for the first time. A commuter, in the midst of a heaving, shoving throng of people pushing their way onto an already crowded tube trai...

On This Day

10th March 2022

‘It, her, your sister,’ Gran said, ‘was like an Easter egg.’ ‘Eh?’ an eight-year-old Alex asked, perplexed. Fit to burst after his grandmother’s home-cooked Sunday lunch, he slumped back in the armchair opposite. ‘Never m...

On This Day

10th March 2022

The beating heart of Scotland, watching its flowers amid the English roses, quickening with each surge, each setback, each addition to the score board, hard fought on the heavy, wet pitch – no longer so green, pounded by boots, running...

New Companions

10th March 2022

I picked him because he was the only one at the Dog’s Trust that didn’t bark. He shared the kennel with a forward Jack Russell called Billy. But wee Baxter shook with fear, his stub of a tail shaking. His fur was matted, and they cou...

Glencoe

10th March 2022

When I took you home, Though much as I remembered, Scotland wasn’t what you thought. It pursed its John Knox lips, The town from where I’d fled, And turned its back again.   Dusk fell fiercely As we motored further north And took the...

Neist Point and I

9th March 2022

On this day, she feels the soles of her feet plant firmly into the dirt of the earth that birthed her. She sprouts up; strong, withstanding, resistant to the fiery elements of the nebulas glimmering in her mind. Her fingers stretch out, ...

Conversations Before Waking

9th March 2022

Listen. Listen. This day could be just the same as any other. That would be safe, wouldn’t it? Comforting. Nothing startling or strange. Potentially boring, but I’m sure you could live with that. Oh, you claim it isn’t. You like yo...

Beatrix and the Skiers

9th March 2022

  On this day, along with Beatrix my border collie, I headed to Glen Lyon to tackle Ben Lawers. Knowing there’d still be lots of snow up the mountains, I’d packed layers of clothes, crampons, ample food, Kendal Mint Cake and a flask ...

A Magical Day In The Trossachs

7th March 2022

The announcement was made on 8/2/1979 that the ice on the Lake of Mentieth was 8″ thick, so a Bonspiel could be held next day. Neither my husband nor I are curlers, but we resolved to take our children to see the rare spectacle. The next...

And Another Thing…

6th March 2022

On this day Mother Nature could be had-up before any court in grave danger of facing a hefty lawsuit for at the very least inconsistency and at worst making the country pay for the fact she is in a grump of a mood and using the weather a...

The Wise Man

5th March 2022

One day a man was carrying three items on his head and he wanted to cross a river in order to get to his destination. The items were a wolf, a hen, corn and one canoe. He knew he would only have one chance to carry one item after the oth...

Mandela in the Square

5th March 2022

I came late to the cause of fighting the apartheid system in South Africa, I was the father of two young boys and that consumed most of my time. Once they were a little older my wife and I were able to become more involved. Leading up to...

A Day to Remember

5th March 2022

I had not intended to be in Glasgow for Nelson Mandela’s visit on 9th October 1993. After work, I had gone to the ANC Office to assist with the visit’s preparations. I was wearing a suit. At 10.00pm the speech to be delivered the nex...

The Day The Glasgow Polis Saluted Mandela

5th March 2022

It was 9 October 1993, Glasgow, torrential rain. Thousands welcomed Nelson Mandela to George Square. A chance meeting with Lothian Region convener Keith Geddes and UNISON/NALGO general secretary Alan Jinkinson led to me being in the line...

Threads

5th March 2022

The world feels like it’s falling apart at the seams today. War in Ukraine and it’s getting hotter, hotter, the bills are rising like the sea levels and the front door of my flat is rattling in the wind. It’s like the wood is strai...

Letifer (Binger O Daeth)

3rd March 2022

Hit wis a poor nicht, wir men wir aff, guid kens whaur. Hit wis black ootside, dan da wind wid rise, whistling under da eaves an sleety shooers slappin aff da windows. I coodna keep me towts on me makkin. So aff I guid ta bed, dir wisna ...

Aberdeen, The Dream

2nd March 2022

From the day I heard about Aberdeen University, it has always been a dream to attend. Imagining King’s Hall as my Hall of Residence, Imagining going for a lovely walk down Meston walk (st), having coffee at Kilua coffee shop, next, I wil...

Another Chance

25th February 2022

On this day, I woke as always under the heavy black cloud of reality. My wife is suffering from cancer, and things are getting complicated. On this day, the soldiers of Russia marched into Ukraine. I listened to a Kievan woman on the rad...

Cultural Appropriation

25th February 2022

On this day I am reading the Gaelic poem ‘Hallaig’ by Sorley MacLean. In this strange, dreamlike piece the poet takes us to a village emptied during the Highland Clearances and filled now with dead people glimpsed in the form of native t...

Hey

24th February 2022

Kitesurfers on the water, High winds blow rainbow Sails at rapid speed, Painting the sky Cliodhna, Daughter of the sea. This New Year’s Eve, haud Hogmanay; Sparkling air by the seashore, sand like Silver dust tinsel; sea holly waves th...

I Heard the News Today

22nd February 2022

I heard the news today. I’m going to die. If I go out and touch your hand; or touch the place your hand has touched, then brush my fingers on my face… I’m going to die. I heard the news today. I’m going to die. It’s news I knew;...

Don’t Look Down

22nd February 2022

December the fourteenth, 2017. The date will never leave me. Although it was my third tour of Afghanistan in as many years with the Royal Scots Borderers, I didn’t realise at the time that it was to be my last. I’ll never forget what...

The Last Wish of Daniel McLevy

20th February 2022

Three old men crossed the Royal Mile, busy as always at festival time. One last drink in the Royal Oak on Infirmary Street, Scott, Louis and Daniel. Daniel was dying, Daniel lived with schizophrenia, Daniel had one last wish, to meet aga...

Sauchiehall Street

19th February 2022

(wi’ apologies to Loch Lomond and Rabbie Burns) O, ye’ll tak’ the High Street, and I’ll tak’ the back lane, And I’ll be in Broonies afore you, For me and my best fieres will always meet again In the bonny, bonny bars of MacBr...

The Island of Worms

19th February 2022

This day ten years ago we landed on that mysterious island. Josie had been moody, but when the boat dropped us off, she skipped gaily into a clump of dark bushes. “Did anyone live here?” she wondered. “I doubt it”, I said, “the...

9/12

19th February 2022

Today an old woman heard me speak on the royal mile. She watched me suspiciously, examining me to see if I was real. You’re American, she said. I am. She put her hand in mine and said I hope you’ve found some comfort. With a kiss on the ...

A 13-Minute Walk on Google Maps

19th February 2022

According to Google Maps, West Claremont Street is precisely 13 minutes’ walk from where I’m sitting in my desirable Edinburgh flat. 13 minutes? It’s 60 years and almost a lifetime away. You can’t even find ‘West Claremont Stre...

Scottish Humour

18th February 2022

Live for the moment they say… good advice but not always possible. Try as you might, there will always be something to make you remember what’s been, or what’s to come. Take Facebook for example, most of us will take a quick glance (or l...

Portobello Beach in August

18th February 2022

I sit on the beach wall and watch and listen Where are we actually going I’ve walked so far Surprisingly it’s hot enough on the beach to wear shorts The wee lad in shorts was the best actor and a t-shirt. You can’t wriggle out of a...

A Wicker World

18th February 2022

On this day, I run no further. On this day, I can feel the heat upon my skin. On this day, I test positive. It was inevitable, no matter how far or how fast I ran it would always catch me. For we are only as strong as those by our sides,...

Hogmanay

17th February 2022

Hogmanay just isn’t the same these days. If it wasn’t for the usual tv programmes, would we even know it was the last day of the year? Everything sounds too civilised on the streets of Southside Glasgow. Could be any normal Friday ni...

1. Flam’s O Alba & 2. Och

17th February 2022

1. Flam’s o Alba Poetic Justice Rabbie by ma elbae, Burns in the ee Scryin fresh lit windae’s, seein’s time tae flee Flam’s thru oor fingers, aye ticklin lowe the taes New Daws summon new poems… an heres hou this ane gaes… De...

No Kid Sits Alone by Choice

17th February 2022

My dog and I have several lunchtime walks and we see students sitting on park benches, perched on walls or goofing around near the soccer fields. There is one girl who is always alone. She is maybe fifteen years old and has a cobalt blue...

Me and My Black Friend Broomhouse 1960s

17th February 2022

Hi Funmi, Hope I find you well. You may not have heard of Darren McGarvey he is famous in Scotland for writing a book called Poverty Safari it’s about social deprivation. He thinks he was brought up in the poor west of Scotland in 1984...

The Legacy of His Music

16th February 2022

Today will mark 2 weeks since my beloved father died. On 1st February, Dad (James Douglas Composer) passed away peacefully. He would have been 90 this summer. Until he passed away, I had no idea that the end was coming but he is now at p...

Writing Prompt #2: Inventing Your Ghost

14th February 2022

The phrase ‘On This Day’ got me thinking about ghosts. Those eternal, lingering, spectres are an excellent lens through which you can write about both time and place. So, wherever you are reading this stop and look around. Now, imagine a...

Writing Prompt #1: On This Day

14th February 2022

The internet is a source of endless writing prompts which is constantly in flux. Searching is a little bit like panning for gold because you get a lot of silt but occasionally among your results, you’ll find a nugget of inspiration, an...