Deirdre Quiery is the author of ‘Eden Burning’. I have previously hosted a couple of her guest posts on here. Deirdre is now back with another one.
Storytelling, Photographs and Memories
Blog by Deirdre Quiery
1st March 2016
Today I spread onto the floor photos which I had kept in a bag from years before. It was to help me tell the story of Eden Burning next week in the Irish Pub in the Port of Soller. I wanted the past to become present. I am looking at one of those photos now – of my father blowing one of those squeaky things which roll out as they make their noise. He is wearing a green crown of paper on his head. It is Christmas.
My mother has a song book in her hands, wearing glasses and a blue and white track suit with cartoon doggies on the jumper. My nephew John is dancing, pretending to play a guitar. There is a Christmas tree growing out of his head. There are the legs of my sister wearing black tights to the right of the photo but not her face. You know that this is not a professional photo.
Yet it captures something which every photo does which words cannot do – or maybe cannot do so well. You have to keep looking and keep telling something more with words to help the reader get it. Yet it is infinite what can be told. The photo seems to tell it all in an instance. You drink it in.
In this photo a Van Gogh print hangs on the wall – a yellow cornfield. The dull brown and white curtains are closed. It is evening. My mother’s feet twist outwards and are slightly swollen –squashed within slippers. My father’s eyes, now that I look at them again are distant – with a hint of his dementia to follow. What I feel is that I am there with them. They are not dead – my parents – they are not lying in boxes of ashes waiting to be buried. My father’s ashes are behind me as I write. I will do something with them – but only when the moment is right.
The photos on the floor are like that. I must do something with them. Words are like that. You must do something with them. I will tell the story of the photos and Eden Burning on International Woman’s Day on the 8th March. My mother’s feet will tap on the floor. She will laugh and sing “Danny Boy”. My father will smoke his Hamlet. The hairs will still be growing out of his nose. His eyebrows will need a good cutting. His hands will be curled into claws with arthritis. John my nephew will play a real guitar with his hair in dreadlocks.
That Christmas will never be forgotten. As a writer, words are for me what makes the world eternal – never to be forgotten. Words make the world real. They can even make the world realer than real. Now I feel like John, playing with words as he played with his pretend guitar. I know that the world is waiting for new words to be spoken – for new worlds to be created.
‘Eden Burning’ is available to buy from:-
Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/eden-burning/
Matthew Smith is kindly giving away three copies of ‘Eden Burning’. To enter just leave a comment about this guest post.
Terms and Conditions
This competition is open worldwide.
The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 3rd April 2016.
The winners will be randomly chosen within 7 days of the closing date. Their details will be passed on to Matthew Smith who will send out the prizes.