Two twelfth-century Irishmen on the Camino is a piece of experimental historical fiction inspired by a sculpture of two pilgrims, one old and one young, in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. It tells the story of two men from that town, incorporating the twelfth-century Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino de Santiago, and will be available (via Amazon) in the summer of 2022.
Una media naranja (A half-peeled orange) was my first published short story, and featured online in the now defunct The Blue Nib (August 2020), but a copy is available here. It was inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s short story ‘Hills like White Elephants’, and Richard W. Lid’s analysis of it in his article ‘Hemingway and the Need for Speech’ (Modern Fiction Studies 8:4, 1962, pp 401-7), where he observed that Hemingway’s characters demonstrate ‘a powerful drive to speak, and it is this struggle for speech which reveals the agonies hidden beneath their composure’ (401). To speak is to invite pain and yet they are compelled to do so; it is both the cause and only remedy for their pain. The orange is – in a small way – a nod to the Godfather trilogy.
Short stories looking for a publisher
In a busy hospital Accident & Emergency room Nurse Joanne and her colleagues are under pressure to tend to all their patients. Among them is a middle-aged man lying in a cubicle with his taciturn wife siting nearby, and an old man holding important test results and looking for attention. One has trouble remembering; the others in forgetting.
Short stories in progress
Where they bury the dead angels
Spain in the Third Carlist War (1872-6) and two infantrymen from the army of Alfonso XII find themselves in a small Carlist hamlet in northern Navarra, where they stumble upon a child playing in the churchyard of San Miguel. Amid stones, mud and blood, the child plays and repeats its game, to the growing dread of the soldiers.
Ask and ye shall receive
On the Plaza del Castillo of Pamplona an old woman moves between the bare sycamores, begging from café table to café table, while a group of young fundraisers for a cancer charity engage with the citizenry. She approaches each for help, as one beggar to another, and discovers that charity can be found in the oddest places.