SITTIN oan ma desk in front o me here as ah scrieve this is a copy o the latest Lallans magazine; ‘Lallans 94’. Lallans is the bi-annual journal o Scots airts an letters - jam packt fou o guid new writin in Scots. A wheen o canty an skeelie scrievers in Scots contributes tae Lallans, this edeetion haes 45 contreebutors, wi some kenspeckle nems amang thaim; Derrick McClure, Sheena Blackhall, Tom Hubbard, Sheila Templeton, Willie Hershaw, an a wheen o ithers… Aa thaim wha submit airticles, poems, reviews an siclike tae Lallans are confident in their uise o written Scots. It’s ma ettle tho that scrievers o Scots are gettin gey thin oan the grund an it’s heich time mair wis duin tae promote writin in Scots.

Some o ye’se wull hae mind that in the 2011 national census it wis askt whether fowk thocht that they spake Scots. 1.54 Million Scots answered Aye! They did speik Scots. An thon’s verra hairtsome – but hou mony can confidently write in Scots?

Ah ettle there’s anely twa or three hunner fowk in Scotland wha are able tae scrieve meaningful poetry an prose in Scots. Gin these fowk wir Sumatran Elephants or Orangutans this airticle wid be front page news… But they’re jist fowk wha scrieve in Scots, sae they’re no…

As ah hae threipt afore, Scotland hus ane o the richest leeterary tresuir stores in the warld – writin in Scots that gangs back a thousand year an mair… nae need tae leet that fawmed pantheon here. But the caundle that aince lowed sae brichtly hus become a gey dwaiblie flame, an gin mair isnae duin tae heize support an promote Scots writin then, lik these rerr, endangered animal species, it is in rael danger o becomin tint aathegaither.

Mair hus tae be duin bi the Scottish Government an Education tae promote Scots writin in oor schuils. Some inroads hae bin made wi this; in 2013 it wis announced that there wid be a ‘compulsory question on Scottish texts in English exams’ – but forgie me gin ah’m wrang, but twa o the writers they uised then; Carol Ann Duffy an Norman McCaig, werenae weel kent fir their uise o Scots? Or am ah wrang? An hus it goat ony better sinsyne? Hus the Scots leid appeared in ony National 5/Standard Grade type exam questions in the past five year? Gin oor weans hae nae access tae written Scots (ither than oan the 25th o Janwar) then hou wull that neist generation o Scots scrievers be created? Gin we dinnae hain the seed corn there wull be nae future leeterary hairst tae reap!

As ma tenure as Scots Scriever at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum draws tae its close, ah’m daein a free series o creative writin warkshoaps in Scots language ower the neist month or sae. We hud the first ane oan Tuesday this week – the ither sessions are planned fir 16 and 30th July an the 13th o August. Aa oan a Tuesday at RBBM, 2 – 4PM. Likesay, the sessions are free – ah’d be canty tae see ye an get ye stairtit scrievin in Scots.

At the Scots Language Society’s raicent annual collogue, held in Perth, there wis some braw papers anent Scots leeterary subjects gien bi the likes o Walter McGinty, Willie Hershaw an the great Joy Hendry. Passionate, fou o virr, an spaken in a braid Scots that cam straicht frae the hairt! Buiks, new writin an pamphlets wir oan show an oan sale. The collogue wis gey puirly attendit tho – an ah’d guess that jist aboot aa thaim wha did attend wir aa aboot retirement age or ayont… There appears tae be little connection or interest frae a younger audience in embracin the Scots leid. Whit’s tae be duin?

Ah coffed ma siller an acquired some o thae thae braw new publications; Dr Tom Hubbard’s ‘The Chagall Winnocks’ is a terrific collection o cuttie classic European poems an writin owerset intae a vibrant Scots. Eminently readable, an written wi an eident scholarly ee tae rhyme, metre an construction. It kythes the place that Scotland hus in the hairt o Europe – an that Europe hus in the hairt o Scotland.

Ma ither acquisition is a rerr jewel indeed. This is the Scots makar Elaine Morton’s new poetry collection, ‘Hamethochts’. Ony guid poetry collection frae ony skeelie maker is a walcum thing – but an entire poetry collection published in Scotland that’s heids an heels written in Scots? Hou aften dae thae buses cam alang?

‘Hamethochts’ shuid be in evri secondary schuil library in the laund – an evri university library forby. It is rich in life, the human condition, an speiks o maitters that are at aince Scottish and Universal – the merk o aa great poetry! Gin ye hae forgotten the pouer o poetry an the pouer o the Scots leid ah suggest ye get yersel a copy o this buik, it wull mak yer hairt sing! An ye micht be tempted tae heize yer pen an hae a go yersel wi this wunnerfu global language that is Scots!