Friday, 27 July 2007

Introduction by Deborah Mulhearn

Longing is the third volume in the Mersey Minis series. It’s a one-off, given away free on 28th August 2007, though it appears again within the complete five-volume set.
More than two thirds of the pieces in Longing result from a competition run by Capsica, the Mersey Minis publisher. The others were commissioned. We asked for a short piece of prose about Liverpool, the Mersey or Merseyside, on the theme of longing. The idea was to mix ‘ordinary' voices with established writers and well known names connected with Liverpool and create a sort of photo album full of literary snapshots, all written in 2007, the city’s 800th anniversary.
It was a pleasure and a privilege, as Mersey Minis editor, to be part of the panel of judges asked to select the competition entries. But not an easy task, I realised when I started reading. At first they were all clamouring for attention: slices of Liverpool life and longings that I’d either forgotten about or never knew existed. But slowly, distinctive voices started to emerge. Small details of longing stuck with me: wind chimes in a cemetery, a lone dandelion in cracked concrete, the salty lips of a long-ago lover. And then the large sweep of it hit me: for childhoold innocence, familiar streetscapes, the love and protection of parents and grandparents.
We all experience longing. It looks forward and back, like our two Pier Head Liver Birds, towards the city and out to sea, or to the future and the past. The two figures on the cover suggest these longings. The sculpture of Eleanor Rigby represents longing for what might have been, and the young girl longs for her life to begin. Perhaps.
The pieces selected weren’t necessarily the most polished, but they all have one thing in common besides Liverpool – they come from the heart.

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