A Moyvore man who has been writing all his life is looking forward to November 9, when his first published book is launched.
“Everyone is welcome,” says Tom McGahon of the launch of ‘Fleeting Memory’, which is to take place in the community centre in Milltown at 8pm.
In a book containing short stories and some poems as well, Tom has invested many late-night hours and much imagination in the creation of characters so believable he practically sees them as real himself.
A native of the village of Louth in the county of Louth, who still retains the rich, sonorous accent of his youth – despite his 41 years farming, with wife Margaret, at Moyvore – Tom eschews the conventional desk, table or laptop computer one might expect a writer to use in crafting his work. “No,” he said: “I write with a large breadboard on my knee.
“If I had a desk, it would probably be cluttered with the flotsam and the jetsam of the previous night.”
He writes, he says, in his “den”, which he describes as a magical place.
“It’s a world of make-believe where characters take on a life and create situations of great interest.
“I am a light sleeper, and I often come down here in the small hours and find myself on Coney Island, New York, or following a seed sower or at a hiring fair somewhere.”
He tries to spotlight the world of yesteryear.
“Some readers won’t know what I am writing about but it’s not that long since,” he says.
While fictional, his stories are rooted in factual situations, for Tom is passionate about history, and he regularly devours books about the French Revolution and the American Civil War.
“Irish fought in both theatres,” he says, giving an indication of how he mines real life to provide a context for his characters and to give a them a story and a setting.
“The book is dedicated to the joys and the toils that are gone, and the people who made them,” Tom says.
Around 28 of the stories are linked and based around the character of a strong character, a bachelor who rears a child, “a very decent man”, says Tom.
Told through the eyes of the child as he grows up and eventually inherits the farm, Tom almost discounts his role in the creation of the characters and the story.
“I only write it down,” he says, going on to explain that some of the characters are based on real-life people.
The book title is taken from the name of a racehorse – but the stories in the book are guaranteed to leave more than a ‘Fleeting Memory’.