IN AN ALTERED STATE OF MIND
If You Were Mine
has gone off to the printer, and after working intensively on
the final edit there is a feeling that, without the bulky presence of the
manuscript, my days have suddenly lost their shape.
Amid the debris of books, maps, notebooks, miscellaneous crumpled sheets of
paper, pencils and pencil shavings, is the tin whistle I bought on my research
trip to Dublin, along with a couple I have purchased since.
This Walton's D whistle, on which I tooted and squeaked my way through an
excruciating two-hour intensive lesson at Walton's Music School, cost less than
ten dollars. It has a shamrock-green fipple and a shiny nickel body, and
already my fingers have spent enough time on it to have left faintly
discoloured ovals around its holes. The newest whistle, a Dixon, cost a good
bit more but is proving temperamental, given to sudden slurs and episodes of
yodelling that are sure to be my inexperience; ironically, the cheap whistle's
What began as research for the novel has become a fixture. I've not
only taken up regular whistle lessons but having fallen in love with the moody
sound of low D whistles and having ordered one from the UK, I spend at least an
each day wrestling with a length of black pvc pipe with six holes in it which
can, in theory, produce a sound haunting enough to raise the dead. But at
least there will always be something to do on
Sunday afternoons in
winter. It is strange the way writing fiction almost always leaves the writer
Other musings on the Writing Life ...