The Emma Andrews Library, on the corner of Purchase and Marlboro Streets, kicked off its Fall Local Author Series with a speaker who hails from far away and just down the street. An Irish woman, Aine Greaney came to the USA in 1986 and now lives very close to the library where she is a member of the Emma Andrews Improvement Association and a frequent patron. Because she is a long-time U.S. resident though foreign-born, she is frequently asked, “Where is home?” This has made Aine take pause and think about the definition of home. Is it where your bed it? Is it where ever you find yourself? Where you are born? Where you have made your life? This question prompted Aine to create a mini-movie to address this question.
Aine is the author of two recently published books, Dance Lessons (Syracuse University Press, 2011), a contemporary novel that tells the story of Ellen Boisvert, a young American widow who discovers her Irish-immigrant husband was not, as he had told her, an orphan. It is “… a trans-Atlantic story about three women and the intergenerational secrets that we keep.” She also wrote and recently published a non-fiction book, Writer with a Day Job (Writers Digest Books, 2011), which is a how-to book about secrets to completing a book while holding a full-time job. In addition to her debut novel, The Big House, and a collection of short stories (The Sheepbreeders Dance and Other Stories), Aine also has published numerous short stories, personal essays and feature articles.
As a book lover and of course, a member and devotee of the Emma Andrews Library, Aine mentioned the role libraries played in her youth in Ireland and the influence of librarians on young readers. At that
time, her hometown library did not have a permanent home and would be moved to new locations as needed. The one constant was the librarian, Miss Joyce, who took her role to also be the town censor. When Aine was in high school and doing a research report on cats, Miss Joyce provided her with several books – from the children’s selection. When Aine noted that books intended for four-year olds would provide little of the information she would need for a successful grade, Miss Joyce was able to bring herself to provide a more appropriate book, but not without the warning in a whisper that it contained, “…lots about reproduction.”
The venues where Aine writes are many and diverse. She enjoys writing at the Wellspring House, an artists and writers retreat in Ashfield, Massachusetts, where she says, much like on Cheers, everyone knows her name. She loves to go to Star Island on the Isle of Shoals, a place she calls, “magical.” Aine recently traveled to A Room of Her Own retreat in the high desert of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch in New Mexico to write. One writing place that did not require a plane ticket was the Writer in Residence position at the People’s United Methodist Church on her own street in Newburyport where she had her office in the turret of the building. This is where she got a first rough draft of her third novel started. With her multitude of writing places creating its own story, Aine presented a slide presentation called The Writing Life, Places and Faces where slides included images of her childhood town, including the church grotto where her “illicit” reading first started. One of the faces highlighted in the presentation was that of Harry, her cat who is her writing friend and in fact a friend of all in the Emma Andrews library neighborhood.
When asked about how she writes, Aine lamented like the rest of us about the role aging plays in performing just about any task, especially those requiring concentration. “I hate the old age thing and fundamentally don’t agree with it!” she exclaimed to the delight and chuckles in the fully packed room. Because she readily admits she doesn’t have the same memory or focus she had 10 years ago, she now builds discipline by making herself write something every day. She had a caveat to her displeasure with the effects of aging, adding that she feels the quality of her thinking is better and is actually able to write better and clearer – but only in short bursts.
Aine then signed numerous books for attendees and graciously donated a portion of the proceeds of the book sales that evening to the nonprofit Emma Andrews library, and “…not just paying for my new Lexus.”
- Thursday, Oct 20, 7:30-9:00 pm – Joel Brown presents his book Mirror Ball Man
- Thursday, Nov 17th, 7:30-9:00pm – Anna Tourkakis presents her cookbook, “Delicious Simplicity”
- Thursday, Jan 19th, 7:30-9:00 pm – Meg Mitchell Moore presents her book “The Arrivals”
- Thursday, March, 15th, 7:30-9:00 pm – Anne Easter Smith presents latest her book “Queen by Right”
For more information on these events and the numerous other programs taking place at the Emma Andrews Library, please contact Donna Conway, Events Coordinator for the library, at Andrewslibrary@yahoo.com or 978.358.8097. The Emma Andrews library is open Wednesdays from 1.00pm – 8.00pm and Saturdays from 9.00am – 3.00pm.