Thursday, 3 March 2011

Ger Mayes is born.

This is where it all started, the whole Ger Mayes / Ruby Barnes / Turnip carry-on. Heuston Bridge over the River Liffey in Dublin, 2007. First week of a new job in the capital. The ideas for a novel that had been swirling around in my head were catalysed by an Eastern European beggar with one shoe and a crutch. The other foot, in a big woolly sock, displayed as a lure for alms. On the next day he had swapped over feet. I wanted to laugh out loud, this was the worst beggar I'd ever seen. But I gave him five euro. Everyone else walked in a big arc around him and I soon learned that was what you did. Eyes straight, step aside, don't get run down by the tram.

Then there was an argument between the socked beggar and a drug addict beggar who wanted the pitch. Guards appeared to calm the fray (Garda Síochána  = police). The Irish addict prevailed.

On the next day the Irishman appeared with a badly beaten face and the day after he didn't appear at all.

People wash up, down river, or disappear never to be seen again. Beggars step into a big old Mercedes after a day pleading for coins at the traffic lights. There's an underworld in the cities.

The novel came gushing out, like the urgent flow of the Liffey after a rainstorm. Gerard Mayes (Ger, pronounced Jer, common name in Ireland). A man like any other. No, an anti-hero. Self-serving, a slacker like the Big Lebowski but with a day job. Then he kills a street dweller and life falls apart.

Why did I write this novel as Ruby Barnes instead of Mark G Turner?

  • Mark Turner is a world famous jazz saxophonist Mark Turner (jazz saxophonist) 
  • Mark Turner is an academically renowned cognitive scientist, linguist and author Mark Turner (cognitive scientist)
  • Mark Turner is a very common name that means hammer woodcraftsman
  • I'm one, only one, of the three above. Ball pein, my wife says. Her puns always hit the nail on the head
  • as a tribute to my late grandfather, Robert 'Ruby' Barnes
  • to throw folks off my scent!
You may be right, I may be crazy. But I just might be the lunatic you're looking for (thanks BJ for that immortal line).


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1 comment:

  1. Love the blog, Turnip! Nice to know where it all started. I'm personally a big fan of Ger's. Would love to read more sometime.

    I'm linking your blog to mine, okay? ;-)