It’s Tuesday morning and we’re off to the Keady market, something I am only able to do in summer months when I can sneak a day off mid week. In the dim light, I squeeze into the livestock auction. The musty smell of the animals and manure overwhelms until my nose adjusts to the stench.
Everything about this event makes me feel like I am in a movie; from the auctioneer calling out in the trademark spew of an un-breaking chain of numbers, to the weatherworn faces of the farmers, their eyes seeing something in the lots of cows that my own eyes are unable to discern, to the worn plank seating.
My novel needs an auction scene.
Maybe a horse auction. Then I think of famous markets – the camel market in India; the pearl market in Beijing; the witches market in Bolivia. Maybe my novel should have a dragon auction! My mind whirls as I imagine the chaos of dragons here in Keady instead of cows.
Outside, we sit under the shade of a tree near the church and eat an entire pint of strawberries. I am required to buy another. The fruit tastes sweat, juicy and full of berry flavour – not at all like the imposters we must endure in the other seasons. Vendors call out their wares, children buzz, a musician plucks out of tune. Closing my eyes, I take in all the scents and sounds. My novel needs an open air market scene too. Maybe someone will be chased and then escape through the crowds; or maybe someone will find an important object, sold by a woman with silver rings on her fingers.
In the afternoon, we head north to Spirit Rock and the ruins of an old mansion. There’s something special about ruins; they possess a magic. Maybe because they exist as a bridge between the living and the dead. We enjoy a picnic and then the pick our way carefully along the path bordered by poison ivy to a view of Colpoys’ Bay. My novel needs a scene at a ruin – a scene where magic can takes place. Maybe where there’s a glimpse of the future in a place of the past.
Oh yes, the novel also needs some poisonous plants.
As evening settles in, we build a bonfire and toss in one of those questionable chemical packages, changing the flames to blue, green and purple. Fireflies dances in the tall weeds and someone strums out a melody on a guitar. Discussion ensues on the wisdom of roasting marshmallows on the chemical flame. Confidences are exchange in the deepening night as darkness allows secrets to pass more easily between lips.
My novel most definitely requires an evening around a campfire when a secret can be revealed.
In the morning, a light rain falls and there’s thunder in the distance.
It’s a perfect time to write. May summer inspire your writing.