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21/04/2014 / Tina

The Beginning, by Martina Carroll


Sketch #1 The Beginning from  

Stories from ‘The Village’

A Collection of sketches from the InkSplinters Writing Sessions


Martina Carroll



I walked into the old pub in the centre of town, and there was Jean having a drink with her three children. My son Jack, who’s married to Jean’s daughter Lucy, was there. He waved as I walked in,

“Mam, great you could make it, what’re ye having?”

“I’ll have a glass of white wine” I said.

He stopped to give me a warm hug as he headed for the bar. By then Jean was standing. I turned to her and we embraced like old friends. Actually, we didn’t really know each all that well. Jean is an artist like my Charley. We’d overlapped with a few big exhibitions and family events over the years.

“You look fantastic” I said, and indeed she did look great, tanned with blond hair in loose curls, and big arty earrings and necklaces, her soft hippy style clothes giving her a carefree look. Next I hugged Lucy and her sister and brother.

I didn’t stay long. I’d planned to meet a few friends from my writers’ group. As I made my way up the centre of O’Connell Street I met David, a writer I know from the Workman’s. He’s one of my favourite poets. Actually I knew him for ages before I discovered he was a good friend of my son Jack, who’s a singer songwriter. There’s an interesting network of writers in Dublin, a kind of hidden city I’d only discovered when I started writing myself. It was nice to find that Jack and I shared lots of friends. We navigated the same writers’ scene and it was only when we both got more involved that we found we had a circle of friends in common.

As I crossed over the street I saw Mimi standing at her bus stop. We smiled and waved at each other. She’s almost eighty now, a poet but also an artist. I’ve been to some of her exhibitions. She made plenty of money in the boom years. Now you’d meet her where ever there’s a free glass of wine. Such an interesting person. We’ve had some great conversations

.The one thing I love about meeting up with writers is that you don’t actually need to know anything about their personal lives. It’s all about the writing and the expression of ideas and emotions abstracted from the everydayness of life to a level of common experience. We meet in the city and write and read and sometimes we hug and drink tea together or wine… I step into my village and here I am in a world of the imagination. I listen to soft voices read mournfully in words that touch my soul. I smile at the rhythm and movements of lively poets, both young and old, as they recount tales filled with the wisdom of the ages and insights into life as lived by the ordinary people we see and meet every day.

I’ve lived in Blackrock most of my life. It’s a lively place, although I love the buzz in Dublin city, only 15 minutes away on the Dart. Yet, Blackrock is the centre of The Village, my village, because of this big old house left to me by my dear Grand Mother Maysie, who raised me from the age of three. I don’t remember my parents, sisters or uncle who all died in the fire in Cork while I was staying with Maysie in Blackrock. That was Maysie’s whole family gone, apart from me.

She was a great artist, and very well educated for a woman of her generation. She’d come from a well off family and was the only one left in Dublin. Maysie never bothered to send me to school but I had a wonderful education, meeting amazing people when we travelled the world together exhibiting her beautiful paintings. She was so loved despite her sad smile and it was no surprise when she was found with the empty pill bottle beside her bed. I respected her right to exit this world and although I was sad to see her go I knew her suffering was finally over. She left me this beautiful house, the centre of my village.

This is where it all began, first with Maysie, then Oisín, and later my dear Charley who I loved so much.

Life goes on, always moving forward and changing. I’ve built on the foundations laid down by those people who have departed. But! This house has a wonderful secret locked away in the attic. The Village may be a place of the imagination but the people are real, and although the world’s broken it’s also magical; so I recount these tales of wonder that reach out from a hidden place, and of the people who came here from a strange far away land and changed our lives forever.






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