By: Philomena Barry
Aiden Shortall’s first book, a memoir called ‘The Tree That Fell in Winter’, 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 wasn’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.
“We were dealing with a psychologist after Daire’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,” said Aiden.
The end result of that writing project was ‘The Tree That Fell in Winter,’ a book that Aiden is very proud of, and rightly so.
Aiden’s second book – available now in ebook form and soon to be available in paperback – is his debut volume of poetry. With the catchy title ‘From Ballybeg to Ballinasloe,’ – Aiden hails from an estate called Ballybeg in Waterford and currently lives in Ballinasloe – 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 you’d like to hear that poem, and the rest of my chat with Aiden, click on the link below!