Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year that was in it..........

New Year’s Eve

I can’t say I’m glad to see 2009 go.

It was a good year for me and mine. I finished one novel, started another, got commissioned to ghost-write a fantastic memoir, had one short story published and was shortlisted in various comps for three others. My poetry improved....I think, and I read some fantastic books, favourite novel was the latest read ‘Let The Great World Spin’by Colum McCann, favourite non-fiction ‘Ma’s Search For Meaning’ by Viktor Frankyl.

Plus I returned to the paid job in a nice office with a great bunch of fellow employees. I have indeed been blessed. The better half retired early – watch out golf courses North County Dublin, and is settling into contented middle-age (he finally admits he’s middle-aged).The only drawback to his being home more is that he is now starting to question various aspects of household management - things that have held absolutely no interest for him over the last twenty years. However a gentle reminder - a roar of ‘Jemser- for Chrissake, you are no longer in work!’ - soon eliminated his tendency to behave like someone who has control of staff.

I made some lovely new friends through my writing, both online and in the flesh. My children continue to be happy and healthy – despite teenage neuroses and pre-pubescent anxieties. I saw some fantastic plays and lots of new little arty venues taking off in the city, joined yet another writing group and I think this one might go somewhere! Oh, and I started a blog.

Then I had a peaceful and happy Christmas with lots of loved ones about.

Only real downer this year was the Irish summer – why am I still surprised at its consistent failure to please? Someone once said Ireland doesn’t have a climate, it has weather. That‘s true.

Finally it has taken me forty-eight years to find me erogenous zones… so I’m not going back to sucking wine gums…………

(Joke! Joke! Joke! And not even an original one)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The REAL Christmas Story

Oh, my Christmas was complete today. Took two under tens to see 'The Wizard Of Oz' in the National Concert Hall. Superb. My special Christmas treat, in some form, every year. Last year it was the movie shown on a big screen in the Helix theatre accompanied by the RTE Concert Orchestra. But you can't beat a live show.

On my 'to-do' list before I die is to play 'The Cowardly Lion' in some version of the Wiz. Only problem is I can't sing - bet I could do a magnificent talking version of 'If I were King of the Forest....'though. So along with directing 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and playing Lady Macbeth, the Cowardly Lion is up there in the top ten.

We're off the 'A Christmas Carol' at the Gate Theatre tomorrow night ~(aren't we a fierce cultured fambly? Then 'Funderland'in the RDS on Sunday (Dublin's homage to DisneyWorld!)...I think Christmas hols cost us more than the summer hols every year.

Actually normally nothing would possess me to go up in one of them whirly very fast things that people seem to think are fun. But a chapter of novel one was set in Funderland so I thought I better do some research. I took along a few kids last year (mainly to hold my hand on the whirly things ) and now they seem to think it is a Christmas tradition!

Plus we have a new family member arriving at the weekend - Dora our new dog is to be delivered by Dogs Trust so we're all looking forward to that.

What happened to me? Funderland, dogs...I'll be going down the big slides at the National Aquatic Centre next!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Snow in Heaven

Just home from a wildly beautiful, scarily icy and unbelievably white Donegal. It was more majestic than normal. I have yet to convince the cynical -
(ie those with no souls)
- males in my family, but I swear from the crossroads at the Killybegs/Carrick/Kilcar road the visible crests of Sliabh Liag looked like someone, (someone ENORMOUS) sleeping.
Eventually one male person grudgingly admitted - well I can maybe see a thigh -
the youngest male (anxious not to be seen to be a fool) chirped up that perhaps he he could see a nose and chin (I must qualify that he saw Santa's Sleigh above Venus on Dec 24th)
Someone else ( I think he has a female soul) could see the curve - that sleeping curve of body as thighs are drawn in lazily delicious abandon towards upper body; there isn't really any similar line in 'nature' and certainly not in architecture or even art to equal that line in the eye of the loving beholder.

But a snowy view of Sliabh Liag from that particular spot comes close, very very close.

Anyway spent a great while in a tiny cottage on Kilcar Main street - check it out, well worth a visit, very central for buses etc. Saw all the other half's 'fambly' including my darling Teresa - who continues to leave us, reluctantly -


there is is still the odd guffaw of enjoyment and teasing. Mostly though she is sad, as each one of her twelve and their addendums/appendices comes in she starts to weep, for she knows that they must go again, and each going is for her, as her memory abandons her more and more perhaps her last remembering.

Life sucks...
And then there is Alzheimers, I cannot imagine what cruelty created this.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Two Sleeps To Christmas.....

This is the poem I liked best of those I wrote for 'de fambly'. It's about my sister Judy - and a lot more of course, there are only eleven months between us, I'm the older Irish twin. Picture it centred on the page (how do I do this on a blog???) and on marbled paper in a well mounted frame - I think it really worked. If I get lazy over the hols I'll post the others (instead of my normal dynamic intelligent posts!).They are very personal memories and may not work for the outsider looking in - all the recipients liked them anyway and we all shed a tear for the little innocents we once were

Childhood Memories#2
Winter 1965
You were the most beautiful creature -
Flawless skin,
huge trusting eyes
watching from
the bolster on the double bed,
Its creaky iron frame
bathed in the light of
the glowing Sacred Heart
that pinked
candy striped brushed cotton sheets,
a maroon eiderdown
topped by a heavy Gardá great coat;
whose buttons left an imprint on your face
Insignia of peace on chubby cheek.
You whispered -
‘Let’s play the drawing-on-the back game,
Me first.’
I loosened your pyjama top
and sketched a scene,
plump childish fingers intent on detail
hoping you wouldn’t guess it right
and I could crow
‘Now me’, I whispered.
But you were sleeping.
I spooned in behind you
And lying still inhaled
Pears soap and Cusson’s talc
And you.
Now, if I close my eyes and deeply breathe
I can almost feel that moment
That safety in our kingdom
Our hot water bottle warmed
double bed

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Childhood Memories 2

Too tired to post, there are 4m people in Ireland and they were all ahead of me in every queue in the local shopping centre today. So here's one of the poems I penned as Christmas gifts this year. They are more doggerel than poetry but they are personal and heartfelt. This one was for Dad, Mam sadly died in 1991 - at 53 when she had reared us all and just got her life back.....Carpe Diem, folks, Carpe Diem

Childhood Memories#1
Mam and Dad

In a small suburban kitchen
Winter ‘66
A family group sat around a fire
Four children and their parents
Daddy in his fireside chair
uniform braces loosened
His stockinged feet were stretched up high
and resting on the mantle
His arms were bent
His hands prayer-like
Eyes closed, he was dozing
But half an ear was lent our way
For Hans Christian Andersen was speaking
she breathed such glorious life,
Into each spellbinding story
A Mermaid small
Red Dancing Shoes
That poorest Little Match Girl
Mam softly wept
and we sobbed too
wishing we could help them
The younger ones were soon asleep
Dad lifted Lou so gently
Mam kissed us all
up the hall we skipped
To the Kingdom of our bedroom
He tucked us in
A prayer
A kiss
‘No talking now, ye hear me!’
We giggled and we cuddled up
Thinking, we’re so lucky.
Weren’t we?
Evelyn Walsh Christmas ‘09

Monday, December 21, 2009

Favourite Christmas Presents - Given and Received

I remember a cut-out paper doll with tabbed outfits that you cut out and stuck to cardboard (ala the back of the 'Bunty')

I remember a 'Crolly Doll' - I loved her 'cause she had the same hairstyle as my Mam

I remember a second-hand blue bike my first non-Santa year

I remember buying a packet of sewing needles in a little packet shaped like a basket of flowers for my Mother, I paid for it out of Grandma's pocket money so I was only about 6 or 7. Once a month she gave us 6d to spend and we had to save 3d of it. I was so proud of myself, I told everyone about the great present I had bought Mam - OUT OF MY OWN MONEY'.

I remember a beautiful reading lamp that I used for twenty five years, it was hauled around from flat to flat, to home, to rented houses and finally to first owned place.

I remember 'Collected Novels Of Thomas Hardy' from a dear, dear friend - I had got her exactly the same thing! I have it still , thirty years later.

I remember the first and only time my current husband ever surprised me - with a leather jacket - I didn't think he had it in him!

I remember my first son's reaction at 3 and a half on seeing the tractor and trailer he'd asked Santa for, there were a few little bits and bobs wrapped and laid in the trailer. On being asked was he going to open them he said,
'They're not for me Mammy, I only wanted a tractor!' When he was persuaded to open the gifts, one of them was a plastic fiddle.
'Granny, If I play will you dance?'
'I will, a stor' Teresa danced and lilted while Seamai airfiddled all around the kitchen in Drimreagh - I bawled!

Most of all it's faces I remember.
Faces of siblings, faces of loved ones, faces of my children.
Smiling, eyes lighting up with surprise and delight, hearts over flowing.
So happy it hurts.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas carols and all that schmaltz

Aaaaah!I went to the younger son's Christmas Carol concert today - they were brilliant, well, nearly all of them - one class did absolutely murder Oiche Chuin - but they thought they were deadly so that was what mattered. I invariably well up at these events, despite telling myself year after year that it's all a load of marketing sh***, a symbol of cynical marketing and the global giants (like the Catholic Church) making lolly etc.
But I can't help it, I'm female, middle-aged, human. I love the sound of children's voices. One of the greatest pleasures in my life since I went part-time in the paid job is that as I turn the key into my house at 1pm every day I can hear the clamour of 900 kids from the various yards in the local primary school. As an adult and parent there is nothing as satisfying, as joyous. And then I remembered how frightening that noise was when I was one of the 900, actually in Mother of Divine Grace in Ballygall there were almost 1,500 NS girls in classes of 40-50 in the 60's-70's - I was more scared of the other little rips than the teachers!
My baby played Santa in his class's performance of 'Jolly Holly' - they were fantastic and then they followed up with a lovely rendition of 'The Holly and The Ivy'. He went a bit astray as he tried to put on his red Santa jacket and couldn't find the left sleeve easily and I was in the audience dying for him - but it didn't phase him - he kept his cool, said his lines and sorted out Santa's jacket when he could. In the vernacular of the day - OMG! - I'm so proud of him, and - if truth be told of - myself and the significant other. This was a kid who was terrified of his own shadow, everything bothered him - dogs, cats, insects, birds, other people. He's this really great bright kid ,a reader, a sportsman, a musician and sensitive and all that , but me and Jemser helped him be this sociable likeable little character. One of the neighbours - a man in his seventies said,
'You could go for a pint with that fella, he has something to say about everything and he's great company.'
So what's the best part of Christmas folks? The same thing that's the best part of every day - and the hardest - family. Shi***. It still sounds Peggy Mithchell or Pauline Fowler - them women have done more to bring the concept of family into disrepute than the slogan 'the family that prays together stays together'. Hug your babies folks - Carpe Diem.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm not the boss of you....

I am horribly upset, I have been accused of being intellectual three times in the last two days! Lads, I'm not intellectual, I'm like you 'cept I take time out to sit and be quiet and think.

Thinking is a much under-rated activity in this century, if we are not 'DOING' something or just about to 'DO' something then we are(apparently) either lazy, unemployed and /or unemployable.
With all due respects , bullsh** If we all did a little more thinking, a little less committee meeting and a little less indulging our need to hear ourselves talk we would have a far finer planet -qualifier, all this is the opinion of a non-intellectual person

Think boys, think.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We're Off To See The Wizard

We decided last night to go to Sydney in 2010 for our holiday. It will be the holiday of a lifetime because I can't see us ever having enough cash saved or time together to do it again. The fifteen year old is chomping at the bit but a chance to see his beloved half sister, who is out in Sydney working in a lab as a molecular parasitologist and trying to find a cure for malaria ( I'm arranging a sainthood for her), is just too much for him and he has condescended to join us. Wouldn't it be great if the other step-daughter could go at the same time...hmmm... all of us in Sydney at the same time, we'd have to do a Christmas dinner in July to celebrate that fact.

It's funny, at times when your kids are young and absolutely doing your head in, on a miserably wet summer's Sunday, and you think you are going to end up doing time because you have thought-murdered them; you never ever, see this day coming - where some have successfully flown the nest and others are intent on jumping out of it before they can fly and stumble back in a slightly bruised daze,(yes, I know it's called a hangover) and the last one is trying desperately hard to climb back inside you, but wants what he sees all his siblings have at the same time. So I'm starting a campaign. Let all of Jemser's kids and their significant others, himself and meself be together in Sydney for Christmas in whatever month we land there, 'cause that's what Christmas is folks - family ( that's a bit too Peggy Mitchell isn't it?)

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I loved McEwan's Saturday-with some reservations-as I always seem to have with his work. I think it's because I'm not English and I do think his work is quintessentially English. But mostly I just love his prose - the man knows how to use words and for that craftmanship I admire him.

But lads, the Saturday he wrote about was a normal middle-class day in comparison to mine. Things is weird boys, and gettin' weirder, but we'll keep on the road and see what happens. It's all good weird, karma weird, serendipity weird.

The normalest thing that happened me today was that I sat and watched tv with a Belfast man whose kids were gone to the O2 for some gig. Don't ask - it was truly normal.

The weirdest thing I can't post just yet, but I will. Oh yes I will.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Usual Stuff

What did I do today? I swear my life has been so busy the last six weeks I sometimes feel I'm going to fall off the edge of the earth (there is an edge - even on a ball there's an edge).

So. Today I went into the paying me a salary job and saved my emplouyer 28k by trusting a new company to provide us with a service an old company has been ripping us off for for over two years. I hope my trust will not be misplaced - I don't think it will. Basically I have saved my employer - you if you're a taxpayer- my annual salary- so I'm on a roll this week.

Then I came home to non-paying job - the real one - life, kids, home, husband, did the shopping, the swimmimg and music runs dropped the beloved other to the airport for his weekend away in London ( then I came home to Jemser) joke, joke -'twas Jemser I dropped to the airport. Cooked dins, cleaned up , put together the Billy bookcase - Jeez it's feckin' big and blue - imagine lads, I have a beautiful big blue billy bookcase, that's worthy of a poem. Framed all the sibling's Christmas poems, collapsed on the sofa for the six o'clock snooze at seven and am now scribbling - might open a bottle of red in a while and watch the remastered Strumpet City - just to remind me of where we all came from.
Ah life - isn't it great to be able to live it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ikea!! aka Heaven or Hell

Mad busy day today, day off from the paying job so did all my lovely non paying jobs (and not a jot of housework!).

Fighting Words in the a.m. - 5th class boys St Kevin's in Fingals West. Lads , be afraid , be very afraid...there are a generation of intelligent enthusiastic hardworking cheeky loveable lads coming up...they will rule the world...if we keep them focused ad get them a passion for something , anything non - chemical we will all be looked after nicely in our ninties. They rock! Check out their story on ( I think all writers should just throw in the pens now - we will be out-written by all these kids in a few years)

Into Temple Bar to meet my lovely new pal Rebecca then - we jawed for an hour or two, gave out shite about men and solved the problems of the world.

I was meant to go to the IWC to hear the divine Hugo Hamilton read, but I was wrecked and I needed another book case so I hit Ikea on the way home. I think I'm in love, I admit it was a mistake to go when I was tired - and I'm glad I drive a Corsa, I spent €122 more than I meant to - and I'm a bleedin' public servant - (beans for dinner 'til Christmas boys) but lads, it's such lovely stuff and so bloody reasonably priced and yes, yes I know all the globalisation rants but...but....I was fed up of being ripped off for crap furniture in overpriced kips of shops so give me globalisation any day of the week ...and yes...I do know I'm a POORLY PAID Permanent Pensionable public servant but we did stay in our gray jobs on the days all you private sector punters were being paid loads of lolly and mental bonuses and freebies for not particularly doing any better a job than us ...Be the private service any better than the public? Are there not just as many wasters in all areas of work and others (like us) who work really hard, give of their best and are poorly recognised? Yes,...knew you'd agree..!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Hills of Donegal

A couple of people have asked me to explain the nice scenery on my blog - it's not nice scenery guys it is gobsmackingly beautiful panoramic views and it is of course shots taken on Sliabh Liag near Carrick and Teelin South West Donegal. This is my spiritual home, I have told my children that when I die they are to have me cremated as cheaply as possible ( a can of paraffin and a couple of burning newspapers should do the trick.) Then they are to put my ashes in a cardboard box, climb Sliabh Liag and toss my ashes off the One Man's Pass.

I'm a wimp when it comes to heights and a slob when it comes to mountain climbing and have never made it up past the first plateau of Bun Ghlas. Jemser and the lads have been up and so have the stepdaughters and their attendant males. So I'm really at a disadvantage when it comes to describing the beauty of this place. We did go out in a boat with Paddy Cunningham from Teelin a few years ago to ahve a look at it from the ocean and the seacliffs which are the highest in Europe are even more spectacular from the sea.

A wonderful local woman Kitty Sheain (who describes her face as being -'of corduruoy') and is still known in her ninety second year to go down to the Rusty Mackerel for a whiskey and a song. agrees with me about the spirituality of the place. In fact when she was first wed and climbed the mountain with her man, some seventy years ago, she was so besotted with it that she wanted to plant a rose bush at Bun Glas. Her husband, gone to his rest for the last number of years, Francie Cunningham, laughed uproariously - for there was no sense to a rose bush in a place that is battered by all the elements and where the principal resindents are goats and sheep who are partial to an auld rose.

I still think we could do it Kitty, we must hatch a plan!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Poems

I have said it before and I'll say it again - I'm not poet. I'd love to be. Poets definitely do it better. Put all the best words in the best order and make them sing. Make you wonder at the world in a different way. Bring a tear of joy or empathy to your eye.

Why then am I attempting to write in a way not natural to me - poems for my siblings this Christmas? Because I want to, it doesn't really matter if they're good, bad -I wouldn't like them to be indifferent though. Anyway all seven of these poems (one for Dad too) are going to be of particular childhood memories, the child I grew up with that is etched on my heart.
I hope they like them.
If they let me - after Christmas I will post them all together here. Then you can all share in the happier moments of the lives of those of us at 45.


Here's a poem for today, particularly resonant for those of you on the Dart line. It didn't ever win anything, but I like it. I like it very much

The 8.15 to Tara

His eyes daily dance
through the map
to the girl
with the high pony-tail
that swishes and flicks
to the
tch-chung, tch-chung tch-chung
And it tickles the nape of her neck
in that place
where he longs
just to once
sketch a kiss
‘Now then Miss’
he might murmur
when their eyes would engage
and they’d dance to the
tch-chung, tch-chung tch-chung
A slow Waltz
Or perhaps
a burning Tango
All around the second carriage
of the eight fifteen to Tara

Evelyn Walsh, August 09

Monday, December 7, 2009

T.V. Dinners

I have almost stopped watching television altogether, it has been a long and slow withdrawal process but I believe I will emerge from this addiction a stronger and wiser person. I wonder how many hours of my life I have wasted watching inane programmes and thinking I enjoyed them.

However last weekend , apart from the obligatory ‘Casualty’ on Saturday night, I had a feast of T.V. viewing. It was an ‘Alan Bennett’ weekend on the Beeb and what a joy it was. I love that man. His sense of humour, his observations of Northern English life, particularly his finely drawn Northern women. Class. I love reading anything by Bennett, he makes me laugh out loud. And cry too occasionally. And I usually learn new words when I read him. Lovely words, unusual words - ‘glabrous’ (look it up yourself!)

Then on Sunday evening there was another treat in store for me - a dramatization of Andrea Levy’s ‘Small Island’. Great book, well adapted. What is it about England and wartime? They seem to do survival in straitened times so well. All chins up, shoulders squared and tally-ho.

So I started to think about all the good programmes I have seen over the years. David Attenborough’s canon of wildlife programmes. ‘Inspector Morse’, ‘Boys From the Black Stuff’, ‘Father Ted’,’Last of The Summer Wine’,the divine ‘Only Fools and Horses’. BBC adaptations of Dickens, Hardy, Austen. Paul Scott’s Raj quartet – ‘Jewel In The Crown’. Anthony Andrews and Jeremy Irons in Evelyn Waugh’s ‘Brideshead Revisited’.

Ah, maybe I shouldn’t give it up altogether, just ration my viewing. And no contrived ‘reality’ shows (what an oxymoron!) or endless bloody ‘talent’ shows. None.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

There's No Place Like Home.........

I’ve been working on and off on a piece about shoes. Racy shoes. It started life as a short story, then morphed into poetry – which was execrable-and now seems to be settling into a short short. Perhaps suitable for Fish Short Shorts this year. So that led me to thinking about shoes and their place in the western world
. I’m not a girly girl. Well, I’m no longer a girl but even when I was one I was decidedly ungirly. I think I must have been missing the day the girly genes were being handed out, quite probably under the pink bunk beds reading a book. So I don’t really relate to the whole clothes, make-up, hair thing. Clothes are something you wear to keep you warm and to cover your nakedness from the rest of the world. And make-up! I only discovered a few years ago that make-up goes off. I was applying lipstick for some special occasion or other and thought it tasted peculiar.
‘Does make-up go off?‘ I asked my friend.
‘How long have you got it?’
‘Fifteen years or so’ I replied to her horror. So, not a make-up junkie then.
But I do get the shoes thing. There is something about shoes isn’t there? My personal favourites are red patent, deep crimson shiny red patent, with a three inch heel and a well made upper designed to show off the foot and the leg. I’d never wear them because I wouldn’t be able to walk or even stand in them without toppling over. But I do love the look of them.
The colour is because of The Wizard of Oz of course. Every girl should, at some stage in her life have a pair of Dorothy shoes. A little girl pair when she is small, or maybe red docs or red ankle boots. And a high-heeled pair of racy shoes when she is a young woman. Shoes like that make legs look invincible, sexy and strong. My ma had the best pair of legs I ever saw, and despite horrendous trouble with varicose veins and leg ulcers at times, when her legs were healthy by God could she wear shoes! All five foot ten of her on a pair of high heels and a skirt with a side slit showing legs that went on forever. Liz’s legs. Everyone admired them.
So I have loads of shoes. God knows why, because I tend to wear the one pair of runners or crocs ( to my son’s shame) all the time. But I am quite acquisitive when it comes to shoes, sometimes I just can’t resist buying a dressy pair, just in case, you never know when you’re going to be invited to Buckingham Palace to have tea with the Queen. I’m not totally foolish about them in that my purchases tend to be in Dunnes, Penneys or TK Maxx. None of your Jimmy Choos, Uggs or Manolo whatsits for me. Low maintenance woman. Lots and lots of pairs of cheap shiny shoes in the bottom of the wardrobe.
Jemser goes mad if I arrive home with yet another pair, (well, gets slightly irritated), and he’s right. I really do not need another pair of shoes I’ll never wear. But it has nothing to do with need, it’s want. I think I’m addicted. Lately if I do buy a pair I hide them in the green wheelie bin until I can sneak them unnoticed into the house. Typical addict behaviour. Then I can gloat over them in the comfort of my bedroom, admire the shape of my leg in them, click my heels three times and be happy forever. Imelda Marcos, eat your heart out.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Reading should be an adventure, a personal experience full of serendipitous surprises. It always has been for me. Some days I will be just reading away and a sentence almost jumps off the page and smacks me in the face. And I wonder 'how did the author get inside my head?'Sometimes there will be a truth, a great truth, something so obvious I wonder how no-one in my life ever mentioned it before. They did of course but I hadn't dipped into that particular honeypot, or wasn't tuned in to that particular wavelength. I have already blogged about Viktor Frankyl and his wonderful book, my new bible, 'Man's Search for Meaning'. I've bought twelve copies of the book at this stage and am giving it to everyone who crosses my path and appears to need it. Slightly odd perhaps (what Evelyn? you? odd?!) but there are weird and wonderful forces out there around this book. Jemser says its all coincidence and I'm reading meaning into random shit. Perhaps.
Today I called into my sister Aisling - who tells me I'm an intellectual ( I'm not -in fact I had to check the dictionary before I wrote it down). Ais reckons anyone who can understand algebra with or without the aid of milk bottles (don't ask- it's a story worthy of an entire blog)is an intellectual-I'm not. However I have realised lately that for some reason I do dwell on the meaning of life rather more than is healthy for one, but I think it's better than wondering who is going to win X Factor or 'I'm a twit...get me out of here' or any of the other 'reality' shows cranked out by TV companies intent on keeping the masses in ignorance. If Karl Marx were about he would change his saying to 'TV is the opium of the people'.

I've digressed, mea culpa.
Back to serendipity.

As I left Aisling's house and headed for the M1 I passed a group of young people collecting at traffic lights for funds to help tackle youth suicide. I had no cash in the car but I handed the young woman the book. I hope she reads it, I hope it helps her or someone close to her, for I said it before and I'll say it again, it is a life changing book. And if in handing that book to a pretty girl at a traffic light I have helped comfort her or helped dry her or someone else's tears it will be another blessing on Viktor Frankyl and his work.

If I drew you in Kris Kindle (don't you just hate that fella!) you know what you're getting for Christmas.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Swords is Buzzin'

Walking into work this morning I met one of my neighbour’s kids. She’s a lovely young one, bright and bubbly, loves to chat and is a great little worker. I’m happy to say that since she left school four years ago she has never been unemployed for longer than a week or two, nor has her brother, two years behind her. And both of them have been employed in local shops/industry.

I am aware that the numbers on the unemployment registers are growing and that work in any part of the property industry, from building down to decoration is at a complete standstill but Swords and it’s immediate hinterlands, barring the closure of SR Technics ( a disgrace), seems to have been reasonably well insulated against the downturn. The Pavilions shopping Centre is jam packed every weekend and phase III with Marks and Spencer as its flagship store is going ahead. The cinema has a constant stream of people in and out, the pubs, restaurants and shops are all busy.

Maybe we should set up the independent republic of Swords. Bags I be Minister of Culture. Oooooh! Wouldn’t it be great, I’d produce on a performance of Midsummer Night's Dream in the atrium of Fingal County Hall, fairy lights strung along the high tension wires to make the place more magical, all those stairs and all that glass, it'd be deadly. Jemser could play Bottom, I'm too old for Titania so I'll direct.

I’d have a quartet - Cello, 2 violins and piano giving recitals in the recently refurbished chapel in Swords Castle. In warmer weather I’d set up a stage in Swords Town Park and have a battle of the bands for all the local head-bangers and would–be rock stars, we’d organise poetry slams and diddle-y-aye nights in all the pubs. Storytelling sessions for kids in Fingallian’s Hall, in the summer a weekend street festival – invite some of the wonderful street performers over. Have a Hip-Hop Sunday once every two months up around the Pavilions somewhere. Art exhibitions, local crafts, puc fada, tug of war. We’d fill all the hotels in the surrounding areas and bring millions into our straitened economy.
What else? C’mon lads, a prize for the most outlandish (but possible) suggestion – and it has to be cultured, ‘cause us North County people are fierce cultured. The prize will be….. a J.C. Savage 2010 calendar.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bit of an Aul' Rant

Another rejection letter this a.m.. I have to admit to disappointment, it was for a rather good story (or so I thought) but I’m obviously doing something wrong.Back to the drawing board, perhaps I have nothing new to say or even anything old to say in a new way.
It was one of those mornings. Slept through alarm, leapt from leaba ( or rather, debedded from leaba, I don’t really do ‘leap’), stubbed already broken toe on bed post, screamed in agony which woke retired husband and he leapt (he can still do ‘leap’) from the bed – not a pretty sight - thinking I was roaring at him over something he had done wrong! As if my Jemser could ever do anything wrong. I had forgotten to put the heat on timer so the house was bloody freezing and the boys were intent on murdering each other. I stuck the cornflakes box between them, the Kellogs Wall. There is no colder war than that between siblings.
Then rush, rush, rush and I couldn’t find keys, purse or swipe. Ran around like the proverbial blue-arsed fly achieving nothing. Found keys, purse; swipe still on the missing list. Opened the hall door to find the rejection letter from the Sunday Tribune, a nasty letter from the building society telling me we were in arrears - as if we didn’t know - and a scary bill from the credit card company.

Then I set off to walk my little pal up to the school and we both admired the huge fragile paper disc of the moon sitting in a watery blue sky. And it wasn’t raining. And the sun was coming up slowly over the rooftops. So I took a deep breath and studied the moon to calm me. Try it sometime, it works, particularly at this time of the year.The Moon is yer only Man. Don’t stare at the sun, you’ll see dancing leprechauns if you stare at the sun, end up in Knock and probably go blind.

So me little pal yapped away about SpongeBob SquarePants, Santa, her part in the school production of ‘Oliver’, her horrible brothers, the dog she wants to get. She talks more than me – she’s going to be unstoppable when she hits puberty! As we strolled along laughing together and I thought-

Feck it. Maybe I am a one story wonder and will never be published again. But I have this - a walk on a crisp winter’s morning with someone who makes me smile, the moon and the sun both in the sky. The air is good, I'm not starving or wounded or even miserable. I still have a job, a healthy family and a warm and dry house. So stop bloody whinging and get on with it.Carpe Diem. Que Sera and whatever you're having yourself.

Writing fiction is so subjective, that which is one person’s drivel is another’s genius. In the end does all the clamour make a difference? New technology has meant that anyone with access to a PC can and does write. We all have a story to tell and there are so many people out there shouting about so many things that we soon won’t be able to hear ourselves think.

I love writing, reading and telling stories. It has filled a huge void in my life, it is my ‘thing’ and now that I’ve found it I will never, ever let it go.
So there.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fighting Words

Did a stint in 'Fighting Words' this a.m. Lads, it's better than Prozac; I swear the Mental Health Services in this country should bottle the energy, imagination, enthusiasm and sheer joie de vivre that is produced morning after morning in that small space in Russell Square. Wonderful.
Today it was the children of First Class in Scoil Mobhi in Glasnevin and boy were they lively. Their story exploded onto the screen - all about a D.J Penguin , his hairy best friend and the forty million things that happened to them. You can read the first part of the kid's story on
What I loved most about today's group was that they became highly indignant at the treatment the 'editor' Mrs. McConkey meted out to us poor plebs, so they made all sorts of horrible things happen to her in their story. I told one little one that Mrs McConkey would fire us all and I'd have no money to buy Christmas Dinner.
'You can come to my house,' she said kindly' I'll just have to ask my Mam, we always have too many crackers anyway' The little dote!
Anyone with a half day to spare (mornings primary schools; afternoons is secondary) should sign up as a volunteer, you definitely get back more than you put in with this particular project. I try to do two mornings a month, my 'fighting words' fix and it keeps me sane for the rest of the month,( well, almost!)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Milk N Cookies

Just in the door from the second Milk N Cookies event in Exchange Building in Temple Bar. Lovely idea; people gather, drink tea and coffee (or milk!), eat biccies and my home-made mince pies and get up and tell stories .

Stephen Smith, poet of this city, gave a fine 'talking' version of Waltzing Matilda, Stephen is the mastermind behind the regular Glor Sessions in the International.('scuse fadas) A young man (sorry folks, no good with names) got up and told a very funny story about his Dad getting stoned and how they tried to keep it from his Mam. There was a love story told by a man called Gerry who has one of the most mellifluous voices I've ever heard, someone on the radio should snap him up. An American gentleman told a Fionn McCool story, (why is it Americans tell our folk tales better than us?). A flame haired young lady called Sarah Griffin read a wonderful story that is endeavoring to be a play, it is a great story in whatever format in ends up in. Sarah appears to be both actress and writer and one of her plays is currently running in the Project - keep an eye on this girl, I think she will go far.
I read 'The 5.50 13A', not one of my better stories but suits the spoken word. It went down ok but I think but was overlong, I need to cut my stuff way down if I''m going to read again.
Jack Harte, the man who was instrumental in setting up both the Irish Writer's Centre and the Irish Writer's Union read from his new book of short stories. Every writer in the country owes a debt of gratitude to Jack for his sterling work on our behalf. I was glad to hear Jack is of my own opinion that the short story ( not the 'literary' short story) is fundamentally an oral art, stories that are meant to be told aloud and should be written accordingly.
Me brudder says I have to post a poem on me blog (even though I'm the first to admit I'm no poet) so I will and here it is.


Bloody Hell!
Why do
Assume that
Am obligated,
By my missing ‘Y’
To care for Life’s minutiae.
God Almighty!
What unnatural law dictates,
That irritating tasks require
Attention on those very dates
That I’m
Least capable.
Please explain
Why Cadbury’s Chocolate
And Tayto Cheese and Onion
together, yes, together
Provide the only comfort
That is acceptable.
Stupid Man!
He’d hear me if he listened.
But his head is full of sport
And silly things
like politics.
No room for me.
Just P.M.T.
An acrynomic diminution
For a hurricane of hormones,
Velocity immeasurable.
Batten down the hatches,
It’s gonna be a bumpy night.

That's meant to be centred and in bold but I cna't do it in this bleedin blog - just imagine it ok!