March 1 to April 14
"‘But I don’t want a new reading companion.’ Surprised, he tells the truth, the words as honest and painful as love. Who else could read the world to life the way she does? In her voice words become soft and round, burnished yellow and orange, straw spun like filigree into gold. Even the cruelest book – stories of blood-red, bruised blues and stormy purples – warms at the edges, an unspoken promise that the world outside it covers is not really so unloving".
"Between the Lines" is a very subtle deeply perceptive story about something no one in the reading life, or otherwise for that matter, wants to think about. How do you keep reading, keep the stories flowing if you go blind and you are maybe too old to learn Braille? Imagine how deeply alone, sad and isolated you would feel in an elder care facility when all your life you loved reading, if you had little money and few friends you got by on your reading. If you have enough money you could buy more books and read them in a nice house but that is still what you do.
The story covers just a very brief period, starting from the time the reader to the blind tells the man she is going back to her home country. He is shocked, he never expected this, of course he only knows a little about the woman that reads to him. He asks her why she wants to go home (we are not explicitly told where she is from but I think she is from the Caribbean area.) She tells him she needs to get her stories back, she has not seen her children in two years.
I have found people from the Caribbean in other stories I have read this ISSM, I think some how they mean something special to the Irish, maybe it is the accent, maybe the differences in climate, maybe it is the skin tones of the people. The author of the story has agreed to do a Q and A session for Irish Short Story Month Year III so perhaps I will ask her about that.
There is more to this wonderful story which I really liked a lot. Sadly it is not yet published so I will refrain from talking about it to much.
Once an advertising copywriter, I am now a student on the MFA in Creative Writing in UCD. I've won a few short story prizes and am now writing my second novel. My first, 'What Becomes Of Us' was awarded a literature bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland for 2012.
I for sure will be reading more of Henrietta McKervey's work soon.
She has kindly agreed to a participate in a Q & A Session for ISSM3 so perhaps she will tell us a bit about the MFA Creative Writing Program at University College Dublin.