A literary journey
Nostalgic Irish prose
Irish culture & folklore
Ulster-Scots short stories
Last night I took a short walk. I didn’t venture far; a quick dander up the Roddens and down the Mill Brae for anyone with local knowledge. My ambition was to stretch my legs for twenty minutes, but the accidental consequence was a sprinkle of local inspiration.
The entire experience of writing had started to become mechanical. I was simultaneously reading through a first draft of Gold and Silver Chains with a computerised voice, whilst taking some small steps into the dreaded world of self-promotion for Letters from Emerald Coving. The thrill of writing words had started to eclipse me.
What was the inspiration in Larne? This time, it wasn’t the charm of the coastline, the dense beauty of the waterfall or the majestic views from the hills, but rather a field of humble yellow buttercups tilting their heads in the evening breeze towards whorls of upright purple loose-strife. It was the brambles spilling out onto the road, the docking leaves poking through the wire fence and the wispy flight of cotton grass.
On a road overlooking a town spread like a hand into the sea, small churches, expanding aluminium huts and a monumental power station were framed with a canopy of wildflowers from the path I walked.
The inspiration continued from the top of the Mill Brae where I noted the discrete farewell of the bluish sun. It was an Irish sunset; a fusing of dark clouds and a dipped light that tints the trees and the grass below before an inky dusk settles on the horizon.
Then came the thoughts and the memories. A nettle: a child with tears and a stinging knee. A docking leaf: a mother reaching down to cure the sting. A leaf on the road: a memory of gathering autumn leaves to make a sticky collage.
Generations of writers have fused clouds and allowed their buttercups to tilt their heads. Descriptions are rarely original even though each writer believes with sincerity that their creation is new. What matters is how the beauty and the memories resonate in the heart and soul of the reader. It is the why. Why is there so much beauty in the untamed scraps of earth and wild sky?
If footsteps power the body and nature feeds the mind, then it is the soul that engages the friendship of the reader. Those thoughts will eventually infiltrate the characters in my story... and that’s how I find my inspiration on a short dander around Larne!
82 Waterloo Road
The Teacher Voice
The Last Day of Summer Scheme
Uniquely Girls' Brigade
The Children of Latharna
The Band Stick
The Bully up the Brae
A dander around Larne
History & folklore
The Protestant in Irish Fiction.
The Protestant in Irish fiction - the novels.
Ulster-Scots in Irish Fiction
The reality of being an author.
Learning the Irish Language.
John Hewitt Summer School