Emerging Writer Member Profile
I am a writer from the inside out. It grew in me and came out organically. I remember having one of my essays read out in class once, when I was in secondary school. I remember thinking...maybe? Years later, when I was working as an academic, my writer's spirit forced its way out of me. I've been writing ever since.
Our New Home
We arrived late at night after what seemed like an eternity of travel. I was asleep on the train when Dad picked me up and told me we had arrived. I did not know where that was, but I was glad to be finished the journey. I tried to keep my eyes open and to see what our new home looked like, but sleep kept intruding and enticing me away from the unfolding events. I managed to get snippets of what was happening. Dad was carrying me out of the train. The lights of the station stung my eyes and the night air nipped at my skin. There was a smell of fresh rain in the air.
We were in a car, I was snuggled against Dad and he was talking to someone. I could feel the vibration of his voice against my ear as my head rested on his chest. His scent comforted me. Then, we were outside an old house and there were dogs barking and trees all around. It was much darker now and we were all shuffling into the old house. I was still safe in Dad’s arms.
As we entered the old house, the obscurity of sleep took me over for good and I was sucked into its rich velvet depths, no longer caring about our trip, our new home or the old house that we had entered. Oblivion was my new home and I was happy to embrace it.
“Gracie, get up! Get up!” shrieked Maeve my older sister.
“It’s morning time and we’re here, Gracie. We have to go outside to see our new home! C’mon, get up!”
As usual, she was the first of the two of us to get up. I always preferred to sleep slightly longer and was never quite as enthusiastic about things as she was. She shook me then and shouted “I can see a cow outside the window!”
This started to awaken some curiosity in me. In my entire four and a half years of living, I had never seen a real cow. Perhaps that sight would be worth stirring from my comfortable position in the bed. As I decided to move, I picked up the scent of the bed covers. It was different. They smelt musty with an earthy, smoky tinge. I scrunched my nose up. Where were my clean, crispy, soapy smelling sheets? Then, I remembered this was not my bed. As I moved more, I realised the pillow was different as well. It wasn’t soft and springy as usual, it was denser and left an indent when I hit it with my fist.
I looked up and around the room where I found myself. It wasn’t a normal room. It was square in shape. The ceiling was low and the walls were bumpy, not smooth like our old house. The room was in shadow except for one small window on the opposite wall to where the bed was. Even though the window was small and carved into what seemed like a wall from an oversized sand castle, the sun shone through it like a brilliantly dazzling spotlight shedding light on a dark crowd. It illuminated the dark, cavernous room and by virtue of its very presence, it turned what would have otherwise been a cave into a room.
I sat up in bed and with an effort, I pushed back the heavily layered smoky bedclothes. This was an entirely strange new place that I would have to try and figure out.
What really mattered right now, though, was seeing Maeve’s cow. I scrambled out of the ever-sinking bed and made my way to the small window. I sat on the inside window sill, which could have easily accommodated both myself and Maeve, and peeked outside to see a giant black and white cow. It was busily ripping grass from the ground with its mouth and moving its lower jaw from side to side as it chewed. It looked up and stared in our direction, all the while its mouth moved in chewing motions as it studied us. I shrieked with excitement.
My eyes were suddenly torn from the cow to the massive big blue expanse that lay beyond the fields. It was moving to its own rhythm and white feather-like forms appeared and disappeared on its surface. It was the ocean. I was seeing the great big ocean for the first time.
“Mum! Mum! Look, the ocean!” I exclaimed as I looked around and searched for my Mum. I stopped. She wasn’t in the room.
“Where’s Mum” I asked Maeve as a tiny smidgen of fear climbed its way up from my chest to my throat.
“She’s out talking to Nanny and Grandad and her sisters” she said as she continued to eye the cow. It was very close to the window now and still busy eating the grass.
“Nanny and Grandad? Who are Nanny and Grandad?” I asked. The mention of a nanny and grandad puzzled me. Nobody had ever told me I had a nanny and grandad and now they were outside in the next room chatting to my mum? This day just got more curious with every minute.
At that moment, Dad walked into the room. My dad was a tall dark-haired giant, pale skinned with freckles on his nose. He had broad shoulders that were nice for leaning on and his eyes were clear blue. His smile was soft and it lit up his eyes whenever it appeared. He had a mound of thick brown wavy hair and big strong hands that easily covered my entire tummy whenever he tickled me. He would hoist me up with those giant hands and hold me with one of his big arms. I would then lean on one of those broad shoulders and observe the world around us. That was my favourite place in the world. When I was sitting on Dads arm, all was right with the world. I ran towards him and put my hands up in the customary fashion that indicated I wanted to be held. He obliged.
“Dad look at the cow! It’s really close to the window!” I exclaimed as I pointed toward the window.
In the late 1970s, a young girl named Grace moves home from London to West Kerry with her family. Country life is an entirely new experience for the little city girl. She encounters strange new animals and people. Over time, she learns to settle into life in the West of Ireland. Years pass and she develops friendships. Sarah is her best friend and Michael is her beloved next door neighbour. The teenage years come and are about to be over when an event happens that will change Grace's life for ever. She and her best friend are thrown into a world of grief and struggle. How will they overcome this? What lessons do they learn from their experiences and how can they learn to live again?
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