all this writing. My grandmother told stories and wrote Reaching for the Fruit, her autobiography. My grandfather on the other side wrote a book of poems, some Biblical reflections and his life story, Home of my Heart, published posthumously. My aunt has written books about reconciliation. Another has published a book about her French ancestors. One brother has his academic thesis and numerous published articles, the other blogs. I’m currently egging on my dad to finish writing down the stories of his times working as an engineer abroad. He has also always been a very entertaining oral story teller. When he climbs up the stairs in Donegal at his grandhildren’s bedtime, you know it won’t be long before shrieks and laughter ensue.
I am so very proud of my family of writers and story-tellers. I love the idea that it’s in the genes, that we just can’t help but pick up a pen or sit down at the laptop and craft real or imagined worlds. Right now, I am wondering why it took me so long to see it. I studied English literature at university, but it never crossed my mind that I would ever write anything that wasn’t just literary criticism. It took me until I was 30 to realise it, and 31 before I let my imagination out of its hiding place. Interestingly, that happened for the first time when I started a writing course at the University of Queen’s, run by my second cousin no less!
When I am feeling frustrated by my inability to manage a full-time job, when I am depressed about my physical disabilities, when life seems entirely unsatisfactory, it only takes an hour of writing to make it feel a whole lot better. The written word can be a powerful, often redemptive thing and I am deeply thankful for it.
Of course, having a reader like you is an added, slightly terrifying bonus!