I was back at St Catherine's Chapel today.
Some key scenes of my forthcoming novel, The Right Place, take place there, at the top of Chapel's Hill and in the surrounding landscape. I was glad to see that people still come and leave prayers in the small recesses in the wall. I have written them into the novel... I am just resuming writing this week, still a lot of work to do to complete draft 1.
The Right Place is inspired by the lyrics of "The Wind", a song by PJ Harvey about this very chapel.
"These little hollows, carved into the southern wall of the exposed chapel, would at times reveal so many snapshots of human stories. Kat had often stood in front of them and quietly read the messages, which were sometimes accompanied by a few extra items: coins, ribbons, feathers, small candles, and always dried butterfly wings, tragically decaying and mixing with the stone dust on the rough surface of the recesses... Sometimes there were pictures that would stare back at you almost too intensely. Kat often wondered about those people who carried on appealing to a saint who had fallen out of favour in the late 1960s. What were their names? Where did they come from? What had led them to the little chapel at the top of a hill? Had St Catherine been their last resort, the ultimate support they had sought when nobody or nothing else could help them? Had they been granted the divine support they had sought within those walls? Had it at least brought them some level of comfort? "
The Right Place by Carya Gish, extract of draft 1. Pub date is late autumn 2023.
I think therefore I write.
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