Always a bit of a scribbler, Eimear began writing in earnest when she moved to Edinburgh five years ago. Perhaps it was the feeling of being untethered from her homeplace that gave the distance and displacement that sometimes affords a writer new freedom. Perhaps it was the community of creatives in which she found herself. Perhaps it was because she had more time on her hands.
Whatever the reason, she sought out formal writing classes, informal groups, café and library nooks in which to hide with a laptop for hours and tap, tap, tap in a corner. Her achievements, in that time, include the small, personal wins of maintaining a daily practice, staying dedicated to her blog, and sticking to the goal of completing a novel (then two more) even when there was no scent of a promise at the end of it.
Over lockdown, Eimear maintained her sanity by channelling many days of frustrating despondency into writing, and she has amassed hundreds of short stories, nature writing, observational pieces and even poems as a result. She might say, if asked, that her greatest achievement has been maintaining this unexpected love affair with writing, even on those days when it doesn't much like her.
You can find out more about Eimear on her website.
When her monologue came to an end they sat in silence. She supposed he was holding the space for her to say more, but she didn't. He stretched back in his chair and looked up at the ceiling rose.
'How can I put this?' He was addressing the cornicing now. 'We Irish, we are steeped in the vocabulary of loss. From generation to generation, we have learned what it is to be broken. It's so deeply scored into us that to feel whole is to feel uncomfortable.' With this he paused, meshing his fingers and rolling his thumbs like an old clothes mangle. His gaze was so intense that he almost stared through her. 'We carry such a weight of history from birth to death: the years of famine, slaughter, defeat; the times when we lost our land and our language; the days when we took flight from where we belonged.'
He pressed his palms together in supplication and planted them into the centre of his chest. To Teresa, it looked suspiciously like someone praying.
'We don't even know it, but we challenge ourselves to repeat the mistakes of our ancestors. We believe we won't be true to them unless our lives are as miserable as theirs were. Look around at this new misery that is being created in Dublin; the misery of wealth and new cars and huge houses and flying to Barcelona for the weekend to spend two grand watching Ireland play some foreign football team and getting blind drunk in hotel bars where a round of drinks costs more than my monthly pay packet was in 1985. We're so clever that we've only gone and found new ways of destroying ourselves by re-creating the misery of the past but giving it an avaricious new twist.' He finished in a breathless crescendo, shaking his head in despair.
Teresa thought she was going to giggle, and in her attempt to swallow her laughter she was afraid she had given herself the hiccups.
'Being utterly distracted by doing three things at once, as is my habit, I answered Lynsey's unexpected call with half an ear as I fired off an apology for a zoom meeting, finished a line I was writing when I answered the phone, and stretched to switch on the lamp as I suddenly realised the room was swamped in afternoon darkness. There's nothing quite like hearing you've been awarded a New Writers Award to bring one to stillness and attention. "You're kidding!" She wasn't. I was chuffed then, and I still am, who wouldn't be?'