By: Philomena Barry
Aiden Shortallâ€™s first book, a memoir called â€˜The Tree That Fell in Winterâ€™, tells the story of his son, Daire, getting a cold during Christmas 2016, which turned into a life-threatening infection. Also suffering the loss of a daughter, Blaithin, who was stillborn, the Shortall family went through two traumatic experiences that changed them forever. Thankfully their son survived.
Aiden always had an interest in writing but wasnâ€™t encouraged to pursue it in school. Aiden grew up to have many different jobs, including bouncer and fitness instructor, his love of fitness becoming a big part of his life.
When the family was seeing a psychologist after Daire became ill, they were encouraged to write their feelings down, something Aiden took up with great enthusiasm.
â€œWe were dealing with a psychologist after Daireâ€™s illness, and she told us to write down our feelings about what was happening as (a form of) therapy and I had always wanted to write a book anyway, and particularly after Blaithin had died,â€ said Aiden.
TheÂ end result of that writing project was â€˜The Tree That Fell in Winter,â€™ a book that Aiden is very proud of, and rightly so.
Aidenâ€™s second book â€“ available now in ebook form and soon to be available in paperback â€“ is his debut volume of poetry. With the catchy title â€˜From Ballybeg to Ballinasloe,â€™ â€“ Aiden hails from an estate called Ballybeg in Waterford and currently lives in Ballinasloe â€“ the book is filled primarily with poetry based on memories of his childhood.
I interviewed Aiden for the second time on For Arts Sake a couple of weeks back and he recited a really lovely poem which was a reminiscence of a childhood trip to the beach with a gang of friends, cycling seven miles to their destination, spending the day having fun in the waves, and cycling the seven miles home again.
If youâ€™d like to hear that poem, and the rest of my chat with Aiden, click on the link below!