My name is Laura Elliot and I live beside an estuary. Broad as its name suggests, moody as the seasons demand, the Broadmeadow Estuary has been a constant source of pleasure since the first time I walked along its shore. It spreads outwards from a river that flows through channels of reeds and tall grasses to reach its final destination. The estuary then travels onward and outward towards a distant viaduct that spills it into the sea at Malahide.
In the spring it can lie as calm and glazed as a beveled mirror or, when the weather turns, wallop against the rocks that stand in dyke-like formation to keep it at bay. Sometimes the rocks put up a successful fight but, occasionally – although not so often nowadays – the swell of the high spring tide sends swans swimming in majestic indifference along the centre of the road.
On summer evenings the sun reflects off the water in a rapture of gold and, the following morning, rises with a flourish above the viaduct to fall into the crimson belly of the estuary. I’ve seen the sun set and rise, and watched the purple shadows lengthen as summer bends to autumn and the swans on the opposite shore are stark silhouettes against the gathering dusk. In winter the pewter veneer of cloud and water can merge until it seems as if all energy has been leached into the ether but, when the sun breaks through, the ripples glisten into needle points of light.
The Broadmeadow Estuary is where I go when I want to escape the demands of the day, especially those related to my computer and my deadlines. Over the years I’ve wept, rejoiced, sang, grieved, remembered, contemplated, sought and been granted inspiration, solved problems and found the courage to face the unsolvable. My footsteps have danced and dragged the pathways as I’ve plotted my books, alone except for the company of a lone heron. I’ve immersed myself in the lives of my characters as ducks fluttered and bobbed, and seabirds scurried lightly across the muddy islands of the bird sanctuary, which forms part of the Broadmeadow Estuary. When moved by a sudden nudge from The Muse, I’ve switched on my recorder and returned home to listen to words that faded into the background of seagulls shrieks and thuggish swans demanding to be fed. In my novel, The Prodigal Sister, the estuary was the setting for the fictitious Heron Cove location, childhood home of the sisters who peopled that story. My latest work in progress will also feature this unique setting.
The rain was falling lightly when I walked there today. I was thinking about this blog and how I could shape it in a way that would interest my readers. What I hope to do with Posts from the Coast is to share the knowledge I have acquired, to chart the highs and lows that are part of the writing experience.
Ultimately, no matter how much advice we receive, how many books we read, courses we attend or writing groups we join, we each have to find our own voice. That, in turn, will dictate our style and all that follows. But when problems arise, it helps to know that others are experiencing the same difficulties. Advice is important, especially when it corresponds to that nagging internal voice we manage to silence until we hear its echo in another person’s point of view.
Today on Broadmeadow Estuary the sun filtered through the drizzling rain and a perfect rainbow spanned the sky. It seemed like an omen, one I could not ignore. I decided it was only fitting that I dedicate my first Posts from the Coast to this special place where so much of my internal self has been empowered.