Saturday 18 February 2012

A twilight zone of time...

The Guardian has a great piece HERE by the Irish writer Colm Tóibín on the relationship he had with his mother, an unpublished but talented poet. In this essay he cites an essay that Conor Cruise O'Brien wrote on the short story writer Seán O'Faoláin that dealt with childhood and memory: 

"There is for all of us a twilight zone of time, stretching back for a generation or two before we were born, which never quite belongs to the rest of history. Our elders have talked their memories into our memories until we come to possess some sense of a continuity exceeding and traversing our own individual being … Children of small and vocal communities are likely to possess it to a high degree and, if they are imaginative, have the power of incorporating into their own lives a significant span of time before their individual births."

This resonates with me as I think back about the family stories that I imbibed as a child, my twilight zone of time includes; the extended families on both sides, the story of my Mum's family during the war, my Dad's jobs in London with my uncle - his first taste of ice-cold Coke in the tyre factory he worked in and the reason why we had an anthology of poetry from Peckham library, the poems of Robert Service (I remember The Cremation of Sam McGee in Songs of a Sourdough), the reason my grandfather had a glass eye, the daily masses my Mum had to attend at Bellerive Convent School and the Manx kippers my Dad had on his family holidays in the Isle of Mann. 

Image of Rocky Lane, Tuebrook late 1960's or early 1970's from HERE.