John Traynor: Introducing “A Paradise Anthology”

It all began as a pleasant diversion…a desultory pastime… scribbling down a few lyrical thoughts about random Celtic heroes, some of whom I’d had the great privilege to witness first-hand, others known to me purely by legend and repute. 

It developed into a patchwork of raw verse in various stages of completion, scattered across random bits of paper and Word files on a series of cluttered laptops, evolving eventually into the germ of an idea – that other souls of a similar Celtic persuasion to my own might find my ramblings of interest or, at least, mildly entertaining. 

The breakthrough came with the COVID-19 outbreak of late 2019 that exploded into a subsequent global pandemic. My son, Paul, challenged me to put the enforced isolation to purposeful use by finally shepherding the material into a loose collection of sorts … a tidying-up exercise for posterity, if nothing more. 

As Lockdown 1 rolled over into Lockdown 2, the project quickly began to take shape. Unfinished fragments got completed, revisions were undertaken, and some broad chronology was applied. Quite suddenly, the outline of a viable book began to emerge – the missing piece being appropriate illustration. That important hurdle was cleared by a combination of the highly distinctive original sketching of Alex Bain and the electronic online generation of atmospheric “photo-sketches” via the remarkable Photofunia app. 

“A Paradise Anthology”, the resultant volume of word, sketches and ‘photo-sketches’, is dedicated to all the genuinely ‘Celtic-minded’, who will intuitively understand and identify with the broad-brush meaning of that much maligned and often mischievously attributed phrase. 

The vehicle for the book is a series of illustrated pen pictures – snapshots in time across the broad sweep of Celtic history. Spun from a cross-section of its characters and related matters, it is highly selective, totally subjective and by no means definitive. 

Anyone with a sense of Celtic history will recognise that peaks and troughs follow each other as surely as night follows day. The peaks soar all the higher in the wake of the reality checks. Words have a rhythm all their own, a kind of in-built musicality that cross-pollinates to support and direct a narrative, of its own volition. Hence the close interaction of song and verse throughout. Agony and ecstasy; serenity and turmoil; truth and half-truth; myth and legend; rhyme, rhythm, poesy, ballad and song, have all long characterised and chronicled the stories of both Celtic FC and Ireland, its ancient motherland. It, therefore, seemed to me fitting that there be a place for a dedicated body of such elements within the mighty canon of literature that traces their parallel paths. I hope “A Paradise Anthology” may be considered, by some at least, a worthy contribution to that library. 

Cherish our collective Celtic heritage! 

In keeping with the charitable ethos of our great club, net proceeds from the sale of “A Paradise Anthology” will be donated to Celtic FC Foundation in support of their incredible work.

Priced at £12.99, the book is available from the Lulu Publishing Bookstore (The World’s largest Independent Online Bookstore) and can be purchased HERE

John Traynor, Author of ‘A Paradise Anthology’