The novel “Maggie” has taken me over ten years to write and I have had many rejections. However, I do not allow rejections to cloud my creative mind and I remain creative not stunted. The novel “Maggie” is the true love story of my grandparents Margaret Crosbie known as Maggie and Richard Griffin known as Dick. The novel spans nearly a hundred years. I show and tell of the social and political history of Ireland, Dublin and Wales, Cardiff, from 1899 to early 1980’s. Years of research, a great Irish family tree, many visits to Ireland and I also performed poetry in Cobblestones opposite Red Cow lane Dublin the pub was called Carolans in Maggie’s day and my father sang in the same pub in 1957.
I found some people do not understand Ireland’s history especially from 1900 to 1922. However I found a lovely writer named Lin Ebenezzer. I sent him two chapters of “Maggie” and he understood what I was writing about he also believed in the novel “Maggie” and this has made up for the many rejections. Below is part of the introduction and first paragraph from “Maggie” and the photo of my grandparents on their wedding day May 19th 1921.
In the summer of 1913 Dublin’s working class boil was ready to burst. However, James Connelly and James Larkin were waiting in the wings with a hot poultice to lance the festering sore.
James Connelly, receding hair line, a thick moustache that did not hide his handsome face. Who quoted “The Irish people will only be free when they own everything from the plough and stars” A charismatic man, a writer and a great orator. James Larkin known as Jim Larkin, striking strong features with bright intelligent eyes. Both were born in the British isles of Irish parents.
James Connolly and Jim Larkin formed the Irish Labour Party in 1912 and were leaders of ‘The Irish Transport and General Workers Union General Workers Union’ and both were paramount to the 1913 ‘Lockout’ Jim Larkin quoted “The great appear great because we are on our knees, let us rise” And many did rise.
The Crosbie sisters, Chrissie and Maggie lived in frightening and sometime exhilarating life changing times and were aggrieved when the tram workers were sacked for wanting to join a union. Chrissie worked at Jacob’s biscuit factory and Maggie worked at Leinster Sewing Factory. Both factories came out and many others came out in support of the sacked tram workers.
Mother and daughter stood in the kitchen. The cold from the flagstones eased the heat and the open door brought a pleasant breeze along with the dust from the yard. This made Chrissie sneeze, she wiped her nose, clipped a strand of her ash blond hair back, while her mother gave an angry look.
“Mammy, I had to come out, it is unfair we should have the right to join a union. A union can help and protect us in our fight for better pay and working conditions.”
“Chrissie, I rely on yours and Maggie wage, now all I have is the boys’ money from their small delivery round and Essie’s wage. James’ health is not good and neither is Essie’s. That girl picks up everything that passes through Dublin. To top it all, this woman Dora Montefiore – and English too! – Wants to take the poor children of Dublin over to England and have them live with Protestant families. Father O’Reilly told us all about it in mass.”
“Mammy, you do not understand, she is on our side. Children are starving and she is helping us, unlike this government.”
I will never give up on “Maggie”
I am a poet by trade in April I will be launching my 4th collection titled “Between Aurora and Twilight” published by BBTS Publications Est Feb 2012. “Between Aurora and Twilight” includes my walks, thoughts on past and present. The introduction and first paragraph of “Between Aurora and Twilight”
Aurora is the Latin mythological name for the goddess of dawn. Dawn occurs before sunrise, before the top of the sun reaches the horizon. Aurora is the point of which it becomes possible to detect light in the sky and I like that light. I often witness the sky spreading brooding blue to mauve, then creating holes of gold and pastel shades similar to those that Monet painted, and if there are clouds, colours of burnt gold and orange. Autumn and winter are the best times for the goddess of dawn, Aurora.
Twilight, dusk, daylight and darkness defused pastel shades, where the sun is below the horizon yet its rays are scattered by the earth’s atmosphere creating (depending on clouds) pastel shades and in autumn and winter bonfires of colours roaring across the sky.
At this time of the day, I feel my senses more heightened and more alive. “Between Aurora and Twilight” is about my dawn and dusk walks, entwined with the past and my thoughts and how through walking I found a compass of compassion and my true north.
Between Aurora and Twilight
I watched a bonfire of a sunset, blazing reds scorched gold and charcoal grey as I breathed in winter. Behind me there is a black velvet sky. I turned and looked through my binoculars at Caris Major commonly known as the Dog Star. Sirius was shining. Sirius is twenty times brighter than the sun, to the Plough with its seven bright stars, smaller than a constellation. I followed the shape of the Plough and found the North Star, Polaris. Polaris is famous for holding nearly still in our sky while the entire northern sky moves around and always visible in the night sky. Orion is the brightest and most beautiful of the winter constellations. The cold night air seeped through my Arctic coat I stamped my boots on the hard frosted ground and heard a swoosh sound, a barn owl quietly swept past me. I was once told a barn owl’s mortality peaks between December and March. The main cause of death associated with winter mortality, is starvation, also as all birds of prey with soft wings,they are not good in the rain.
I opened our garden gate and the glow of the candle light from the candles I lit before I went on my twilight walk burn softly reflected lights of gold in the downstairs windows. Inside their warmth greeted my red cold cheeks and the scent reminded me of Holy Mass. It is the much lapsed Catholic in me that likes candles. All my schooling was Catholic. Today I think faith based schools should be banned, religion is a personal choice and should be left at home where it belongs and in its place let’s have philosophy, wouldn’t it be good to have children as young as five debating. Shadows of my husband in the hallway turning the heating on that has not been on since April. The radiators made its familiar clicking sound adding warmth but I still miss our open fire.