Saturday, 8 November 2014

Narrative Focus

We spent last week at our house in Leitrim. I needed a break from looking after grandchildren, helping people write novels and trying to find time to write my own. I'd spent a week in which I found myself constantly having to explain about narrative focus to people who seemed never to have thought of it before.

Leitrim was as magnificent as ever. Autumn was raging around the countryside, driving the rain before it and tossing great handfuls of leaves into the air. Once we reached our house I spent most of my time sitting beside a roaring fire, reading, with a cup of tea and a buttered scone at my elbow. On the opposite chair sat my wife, similarly occupied. The only sound was the crackling of the logs as the fire slowly devoured them.

We went to bed early each evening and slept late. Nights in Leitrim are as dark as at any time in the history of the world. And they are entirely silent. Going to sleep felt like embarking on some great sea voyage.

Sometimes I would wake from confused dreams in the the small hours and it felt as though our ship had put into port to take on more supplies. Up on deck the crew were busy loading and unloading but there was nothing for me to concern myself with. Satisfied that all was as it should be, I would tumble back into sleep once more.

On the Sunday we went to the little town of Strandhill on the Sligo coast and walked out along the dunes, watching as the great grey sheet of the sea constantly unmade itself. Far out to sea a little group of surfers were dancing across the cold white foam with extraordinary skill. Now that's narrative focus, I thought to myself.

Too late we saw the the squally clouds racing across the sky towards us. We turned for home but were soaked to the skin long before we got back.


Paul said...

Well, I hope you got some good writing, or at least a great deal of quality reading, done.

Brian Keaney said...

Thank you, Paul. What a pleasure to hear from you! No writing, just reading. Mostly A Long Long Way, Sebastian Barry's wonderful sad story of an Irish soldier in the Great War