This is my latest profile photo for Locating the Gothic. I’ve told you about the wonderful events we have planned for the autumn and while I know it’s hard to think about this when the sun is shining, the winter is inevitable. So don’t leave it until the wind is howling in the chimney and ghostly fingers tap at your window panes to have a look at the site.
Another day of horror as the story about the mass grave in Tuam, co Galway, Ireland goes on. For those of you who have not heard the bodies of over 800 hundred children were found in a septic tank at a home run by the nuns. How much more of these vile acts have to be uncovered before the government and the police do something about it? Everyone who took part in these atrocities should be hunted down like the Nazi war criminals and brought to justice. When I was researching my novel, Whispers, I just touched on the subject, but |I heard stories from those in the know that were too sickening to put in to print. Please share this post with your friends around the world, so the outcry is heard even in the farthest corners of the globe. Maybe, then those in power will be forced to act and those poor little children will get justice at last.
This is a modern ghost story that happened a week ago to a friend of mine who works in a nursing home. There was one patient, an old lady in her eighties who she was particularly fond of and would spend hours chatting with her during the night shift. This went on for many years. Each night the old lady would come in to the common room and sit in her favourite chair. Anne, my friend, knew she was on her way, as her arrival was preceded by a racking cough. The old lady suffered from her chest and the cough was a distressing and painful one. One night, last week, the old lady failed to turn up, so Anne went to check on her. Sadly, she had passed away. The following night, Anne sat reading in the common room. Every now and then she glanced over at the old lady’s empty chair and felt her heart ache with sadness. Around 4 a.m., when the wards were all silent, Anne was roused from her reading by a racking cough coming from the empty chair. In that instant her nose started to bleed for no reason. You can imagine her fright, as she rushed from the room. She has never suffered from nose bleeds, her blood pressure is normal and there was no one else around with a cough. Strange, of course, and something that makes one stop and think.
Another wet and grey Sunday here in Limerick, but below is a link to put you in the mood for such a day . Click on the link to find a list of events for the coming October, and although it may seem far away, you know how the months fly by, and I wouldn’t want you to miss out. For all of you with a yearning to put pen to paper, you will see from the site that I will be teaching a Creative Writing Workshop on the Gothic novel. I know we have a wealth of people in Limerick who have so many great ghost stories to tell about our city,so go on and have a look. And keep liking the Locating the Gothic page.
After weeks of endless rain, I woke this morning to blue skies. The only sign of winter is the trees, stripped bare by the biting wind, the bark bleached and ghostly looking by moonlight. A grey wood pigeon is cooing on one of the ashen branches and the sound makes one pause, as it offers to the heavens the only thing it has to give, its song. There is something uplifting in each note as it rings clear in the silent air. Another promise of better things to come.
I woke this morning to the sound of chainsaws and to my horror found the powers that be were cutting down the branches of the tree outside my office window. It’s not in my garden so there was nothing I could do, but watch as it was stripped of its lush branches. Hours later its been reduced to a stalk, its limbs jutting like skeleton arms towards an unforgiving, grey sky. I know some will think, “So what, it’s just a tree,” but its not. I watched it grow over twenty years from a sapling to a might elm. Its branches was home to countless generations of birds. Their nests now lie like dark blood spots on the green grass and the owners circle the stump in confusion. Not only did it hang with leaves and blossoms, but in its youth it was a climbing frame for many of the neighborhood boys. If I close my eyes I can see them hanging upside down by the ankles, glossy hair swinging as they screamed with life and laughter. Those little faces are lost to me now, the boys all grown and scattered to the four corners of the world. I judged the seasons by its leaves and watched as it grew from bud to green, then orange, red and gold. It will, no doubt, recover and come to life in time, but I will miss its familiar greeting, when I open the blinds each morning and the birdsong. Ah, that I will miss most of all.
Well folks, we’re back to the rain. Not that it makes much difference when you’re manacled to a desk. I was determined to take some time off after completing Shadow Self, but the blank screen kept issuing a challenge and I’m not one to back down. I’m hoping to make the story in to a trilogy and have written the first three chapters of Beyond Bargamore. You’ll understand the title later on. Have a great day and stay safe.