What comes to mind first when you think of Ireland, England, and Scotland? This?
Yeah, me too. Sheep, green grass, stone walls.
And since I arrived, there has been no lack of sheep, green grass, or stone walls.
But Scotland and Ireland have been nearly as prolific in the production of writers as they have been in the production of wool and whiskey.
To find out what Irish-born writers we know, we only have to look at the sandwich menu in this Dublin cafe:
Crossing the Irish Sea and heading north into England, we also found the Lake District steeped in literary history as well. My heroine, Beatrix Potter, wandered these hills and fields creating her timeless characters and enchanting stories. Poet William Wordsworth walked these hills and had an immense impact on the literary world.
He also left behind a beautiful home and garden to inspire all who visit.
Okay, let me ask this: Who COULDN’T write a masterpiece from this setting?
Speaking of settings, Edinburgh, Scotland is the setting for many happy events in literary history, as noted here, at the Edinburgh Writer’s Museum.
Here the works of Robert Burns (you know, he wrote Auld Lang Syne as a poem long before it became the world’s New Years Eve anthem) and Robert Louis Stevenson (you know, Treasure Island) are celebrated.
But perhaps the most magical of all Edinburgh literary events took place here…
at the Elephant House, the coffee house where J.K. Rowling sat and created the first Harry Potter novels.
With this view of the Edinburgh castle, is it any wonder she dreamed up Hogwarts?
Today, while Olivia and I enjoyed a chai latte with friends, Jackie and Paige,
Paige decided to open the drawers in the table (who does that?)
Well, we’re glad Paige does that because…
(Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking we found a long-lost page of an original Rowling manuscript.)
No, but what we did find was simply fascinating. The drawers were filled with notes of all sizes and shapes, on napkins and paper, from all corners of the globe. Memories, dreams, hopes, nonsense and philosophies were scribbled and drawn, some hastily, some thougthfully, and left behind for readers unknown. The girls read, laughed, and nearly cried as they read many of the messages. It was a moment with a true “Letters to Juliet” feel to it.
When they were done, they also put pens to paper to capture this moment for future readers.
It’s the most studious the three of them have looked since the end of May!
Me? Of course, I left behind a thought, too. It’s a familiar, but important one.
Who knows who will next be inspired to read and write in The Elephant House?