Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Read, not write...

I'm going through one of my typical writer periods where nothing I do makes any sense and what I already have done is on the edge of falling apart. So...instead of making myself work at fixing it, as I used to try and do till I was bloody from banging my head against the wall, I'm reading some of the books on Northern Ireland I have.

First one I dug into was Children of Wrath, by Michael MacDonald...and OMG is it dry and dense -- like a doctoral thesis that's been published and given away to friends and one of them sold it on ebay or something. In each section, he states his premise, outlines the details, presents facts to back those details, then restates his premise...but as a conclusion. Not one word about the Civil Rights March that was attacked at Burntollet. Barely a mention of Bloody Sunday, where 14 Catholics were killed by British paratroopers. But several references to Bloody Friday, when PIRA set of 22 bombs in Belfast, killing 9. Urk...I put it down once I read the section I needed.

Next up is Reflections of Derry, which is the third book in a memoir written a man named Philip Cunningham, who lived in Derry. It's actually quite nice and has some details I needed in it. For instance, the house he lived in as a newlywed was next to the house on Fahan that wound up as the Free Derry corner. He and his wife had the front bedroom of a terrace home occupied by his aunt, and only his room and the parlor, below it, were wired for electricity. The toilet was outside.

A third book is Northern Ireland Scrapbook, published in 1986 and which is mainly a compilation of photos of NI from about 1968 to 1984, taken by soldiers and news photographers and locals. None of Eamon Melaugh's or Willie Carson's are in it, which I find interesting since they were very prolific, and its recaps of what was happening in the country are slanted towards taking the official line on most events, but it is a valuable resource. I bought it used and have had it for a while...and it shows. I've gone back to it a lot because it's very useful to keep the timeline in mind.

I've got half a dozen more books I haven't read, yet, so I'm going to drown this mood with detail and hold off on the writing till I return from Derry. Maybe by then I'll feel better about my efforts.


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