Have you ever asked yourself why you to chose to be some place in preference to others? Why you feel drawn to gaze at certain landscapes, to explore the hills and dales of your seemingly random choice of homeland or holiday destination? Perhaps you don’t experience it that way, with all of your choices appearing clear and conscious in your mind’s eye. Either way, you are here (or there) and whether we can define a specific cause- and - effect to explain how you happened upon this place or that, the truth is that every step you are currently making will eventually lead you to some other destination. What if you walk in circles? I hear you ask. Well, unless blinkered and shackled, then you will undoubtedly, over time, notice the differences in the things and people around you, despite the apparent constancy of your gait. And what if you choose to stand still? Then the changes will persist, both and within and around you. Your cells will continue to degenerate, the sun will cyclically rise and set; the seascape will consistently ebb and flow.
However, the circumstances of your birth and early life experiences might have served to cast a constricting cloak of caution over your initial vision of the world. I believe that It’s only when you shrug off the safety harness, honour your own innate curiosity and brave the world at large, that it will start to make some sense and you will attain some mastery over yourself.
For me, it’s the same with writing. I find myself compelled to write about things for reasons often beyond my own initial comprehension. I love the obvious signposts, which crop up along the way, as much as the mysterious concealed entrances, which become apparent only when you turn the corner. Whereas research and imagination both play an important part in the construction of a story, adding the roots of reality and the branches of possibility, for me it is the relaying of the actual experience, which provides the lynchpin of integrity to carry the tale onwards.
As the novel I am currently writing is geographically set on the shores astride the Irish sea and spans time from the medieval era to the present day, I felt the need to breathe the air and tread the terrain of both lands. Although the modern day landscape has eclipsed elements of the past from both, with the sea having eroded aspects of the coast, the mountain peaks remain unconquered and the sun sets into the same groove. Family names form the loose threads with which the tapestries of tales are woven, comprising the comfort blankets for the future generations, until they too choose to loosen the covers and explore places new. However, in my view, a deeper understanding, in thoughts words and deeds, of where we have come from, can only serve to enhance our insight and inform our perceived choices as to where we can go from here.