It was a weekend and the inn was packed with people looking forward to not working tomorrow. Pete and the Captain were sitting in a booth watching the comings and goings, sipping their ale and looking like the regulars they were. Faces around them were familiar, people they had known forever – the strangers stood out like sore thumbs. Two young lads were standing at the bar with untouched tankards in front of them. One of them broke away from the bar and started moving around the groups of tables asking questions and moving on to the next. He arrived at the table where Pete and the Captain were smoking their pipes.
They made an odd scene, sitting around the fire like that. No one was using a chair. Mrs Captain was cuddled around the mysterious girl. The Captain stood awkwardly by the mantelpiece with a pan in one hand and a bottle of rum in the other. Joe was kneeling at his mermaid’s feet trying to deal with the fact that his mermaid had feet in the first place. No one spoke. The fire crackled. The Captain took another sip from the bottle and waited. He was waiting for the inquisition which he knew was coming. Mrs Captain was glaring at him from her place on the floor.Continue reading →
Another story from my Venice days was created on a night out with my friend Tara who is the most talented artist. We went to the wine shop in the square to fill up our plastic bottle with some very reasonably priced (1 or 2 euro) white wine, and sat on the water’s edge being silly and coming up with all sorts of short story ideas (as you do!). Tara was sketching the back of my house, which later turned into a beautiful painting now on my living room wall. And I wrote a short story about a fairy with exceptionally large feet called Mildred. She had red hair as an homage to Tara who has lovely red hair, and of course to Anne of Green Gables as well! She also has a bit of a temper (of course – after Anne not Tara).
I spent a year living in Venice in my twenties and had an awesome time living right in the city centre. I had an apartment looking out over a canal. The ever lovely Campo Santa Margherita was just round the corner from our house and there were so many canals to sit on and watch the world go by.
My best friend and her husband came to visit me with their small baby – Joseph. After they left I sat by the water’s edge near a statue of a mermaid, on a sunny evening and wrote a very short story about a boy name Joe. Writing something for him was the inspiration for my first book. I didn’t know it at the time but this story has so many things that can be developed into a story – great ideas for characters, great location. We’ll have to see how that goes…
The canal was flashing with a thousand sparkles underneath the water. I called them “angel lights”. In the spirit of having balance in a story it seemed fitting that a beautiful thing should also have a dark side. Surrounded by all the mythology of a sea-faring city I added the “sea monsters”.
I want this short story to become the inspiration to my first novel which is going to be about a little girl who witnesses a horrible crime, gets washed up on a beach and befriended by a little boy called Joe and a salty old sea captain. In this case the “sea monsters” are very much human though! Stay tuned for excerpts coming up.