Wednesday 27 March 2019

Steve finds a safe harbour to edit 'Time's Laughingstocks'

Mary Fogarty

Steve Gronert Ellerhoff settled himself by the fire in the Harbour Bar last winter to edit his novel 'Time's Laughingstocks.'

The book will have its official launch at the same venue on Wednesday October 30 at 7.30 p.m.

Happily, it's also 'Zombie Night' at the Harbour so the un-dead are welcome. As are those of us who have put a little too much thought in to our exit-strategies should we face zombie apocalypse.

American Steve ending up by the sea in a rustic Irish pub revising his novel is ridiculously like the plot of the movie of his life, I tell him.

To add to the 'struggling artist in the garret' fairytale, he said he stumbled upon the Harbour as a venue for the project because his apartment was too cold for work.

The 33-year old author is a native of Des Moines, Iowa and a PhD student at Trinity where he is working on a dissertation exploring the role of myth in the early short stories of Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut.

He also has an MPhil in Literatures of the Americas from Trinity and a Creative Writing MA from Lancaster University.

He has been in Ireland for three years and made his way to Bray after six months living in Rathmines.

He was looking to get out of the city to somewhere smaller, and to a town which 'felt like a place where people live.' The sea was also a draw for the scholar, as was Bray Head which remains a place Steve loves to visit.

He has been hitting the books for quite some time now, after a spell of five years working in a toy-shop in Portland Oregan and before that running a movie theatre.

This is the CV, once again, of the fictional star of a thoughtful film in which our hero ponders existence in an Irish seaside town. Thankfully Steve made friends here before too much navel gazing could send him down that particular rabbit hole.

The cold drove him in to the Harbour, where Paul O'Toole Junior provided firewood and Smithwicks as well as friendship and a doorway to the town.

'I love it here,' said Steve, adding that unlike his digs, the welcome he has received in Bray has been warmer than anywhere else he lived with the exception of his home-town.

'It's great to be accepted as part of the community, to know that if you walk from one end of the town to the other a few people will know you and say hi.'

The book was conceived in Portland, during the toy-shop years, but the labour occurred in Bray.

From December to March Steve pored over the manuscript, preparing it for publication.

It was his second novel, with the first never seeing the light of day. 'I cut some teeth on that,' he laughed. 'It was a complete failure.'

Over a number of years he would return occasionally to 'Time's Laughingstocks' and tinker with it, before deciding it was time to get it out in to the world.

In 'Time's Laughingstocks' Richie is a kid from Des Moines in the year 1994. Dick is Richie, all grown up, aged 42-and-some. He is also the American father of time travel.

Virgil is an actor from 2039 set to play Dick in an award-winning and profoundly unflattering biopic.

Dick takes it upon himself to guide Richie and Virgil on a private tour through time.

Artist Kevin Storrar has provided some wonderful illustrations for the quirky and wildly entertaining book.

It will be available at the launch on Wednesday October 20, on Amazon, and Steve is currently in talks with some bookshops to get the novel on shelves.

Bray People