I am exploring ideas of reminiscence this term in my fiction workshop. Memories embed, re-run and replay, often whether we consciously summon them or not. They shape-shift, clumsily tripping us up or strengthening us to run harder and faster into our futures.
A friend urged me to read this collection of short stories, suggesting it could help me with my submission as it handles similar themes of remembrance. Many favourite writers are here: Raymond Carver, Ian McEwan, John Updike, all grounding their stories in my favourite place.
Robert Drewe’s introduction had me smiling in recognition:
“I am someone who prefers to live where I can catch a glimpse of the sea at least in my mind’s eye, but I chose these particular stories for more than just their setting; not only because I think they represent the best of contemporary shorter fiction writing about the beach- the coasts, ocean shores, bays, dunes, lagoons and rivers- but because each of them has the extra dimension of what Gerard Manly Hopkins called ‘deep down things’. They share a concern with pressing personal, social and political questions, their satiric, humorous or fantastic sidelong glance often revealing more than direct realistic examination. All of these stories truly plumb the depths.”
I am loving it, such a fabulous idea for an anthology. North Antrim Coast lovers everywhere deserve this book for Christmas. Do them a favour and check it out. It’s selling for a penny on Amazon, criminal really….
“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life’s longings for itself. They come through you, but they are not from you, and though they are with you, they belong not to you. You can give them your love but not your thoughts. They have their own thoughts. You can house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in a place called tomorrow, which you cannot visit, even in your dreams. You can try to be like them. But you cannot make them just like you.”
Extract from The Prophet- Kahil Gibran
Lovers on Aran by Seamus Heaney
The timeless waves, bright, sifting, broken glass,
Came dazzling around, into the rocks,
Came glinting, sifting from the Americas
To posess Aran. Or did Aran rush
to throw wide arms of rock around a tide
That yielded with an ebb, with a soft crash?
Did sea define the land or land the sea?
Each drew new meaning from the waves’ collision.
Sea broke on land to full identity.
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
by Orfhlaith Foyle.
You are fourteen years old
and I want to be you again.
Emily is calling
and Heathcliff has tethered the horses.
Your hair is like mine
And I can predict how your heart will beat
like so…because of Emily’s words,
and the dark heath and wind
like a man’s hand touching you.
Where…you do not know.
But you feel it between your lungs
and you see it
in the dark slide of the sun
against the earth.
(Taken from Foyle’s collection, Red Riding Hood’s Dilemma. Well worth buying.)