The Wellspring

- by Eileen Dreyer

As you might have noticed from my website, my blog, my frequent appearance at Irish music bars and even more frequent singing of suicidal Irish music, Ireland is the home of my heart. No, I wasn’t born there. In fact, no one in my immediate family has been born there since the 1870’s. But beyond the whole ‘Irishness’ thing, there is something about that place that simply sets my creative spirit free.

The same is true for every creative person I know. No, not that they have to go to Ireland to write or paint or dream. But each of us has somewhere on earth where we ‘plug in.’ I know people who write best in the high desert(shoot me now). I know a friend who has to hear the ocean (I like to hear it but see the land). I know people who need an apartment in New York, or a room in New Orleans. People who need noise and people who need silence.

The truth is that each of our spirits reacts to something different in the earth. The lucky ones, like me, get to visit that place(the even luckier ones get to live there. But that’s another posting entirely). I know exactly where Nora Roberts’s place is. We discussed it as she was contemplating buying it. My place is different. It’s wilder. It’s emptier. It’s farther away from civilization perched on the end of the earth. I’m glad. Because if it had been the same stretch of land as Nora’s, I’d have to commit an unspecified crime to one of today’s best authors.

Ellen March Chase (Kim Ostrom) and I once read “How the Irish Saved Civilization,” and knew exactly what our dream job would be. We would have loved to have been one of those mad monks who sat in the sunshine outside beehive huts that were perched out over eternity(I would require electricity in this day and age) and copied off holy manuscripts. Maybe wrote some of our own.

But think of it. You have a community down the hill if you need it, but all the space and quiet you need, the only sounds the scratching of your pen over vellum, the cry of the kerlews, the soft lapping of a distant ocean as you draw phantasmagorical designs around a single capital letter(okay, we might have been discussing this when our kids were teenagers and the idea of not having any more responsibility than making pretty designs apealed to us), your whole world shrunk to the delicious texture of words and the majesty of nature.

But if I could figure out how to do it, I’d recreate something just like that place to work.

As it is, I go back every chance I get. I sit in silence over the ocean and listen to the wind and the birds and the waves, and it’s amazing what comes out of my pen. Or onto my screen. Because that’s the place where I plug into the core of creativity.


  1. Amen Eileen,
    My soul place is the mountains, evergreens, big black crows, range cattle, rodents, the occasional black bear, deer–lots of deer. My family has long had a mountain cabin at a southern Oregon lake some 70 miles from where I live.
    I don’t go there in the winter–leave that to my cross-country skiing son, but I have numerous photographs of the cabin, lake, and land around it at my elbows. I feel the morning cool on my cheeks and smell late afternoon sap in the trees in my soul.
    Just thinking of that isolated spot quets me. Takes me from technology, bills, chores, and life and fills me.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Vella, I have pics of ireland everywhere in my house, too. That vivid green gets me through the winter.