Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Flirtin' in the sunshine.........

The sun is shining in Dublin since yesterday and it has caused major chaos. You see the sun makes us Irish happy because it is a rare visitor and when it deigns to shine on this godforsaken bog we all go slightly baloobas. We start smiling at each other, and of course smiling at each other ramps up the game and we start flirting with each other and absolutely no work gets. We should all be given the day off when the sun shines in Ireland. Will we have a referendum on it? I betcha it would be passed with a resounding YES!!

 Yiz know my theory on flirtin' don't you? No? Well, I reckon flirtin' makes the world go round, keeps humanity sane and above all hopeful. Without hope all is hopeless, (amn't I fierce profound!). I learned to flirt at my mother's knee. Mam was the best flirt I ever met and she couldn't resist it and nobody could resist her. And d'y'know what - it works. When we flirt with someone it cheers us up, a little pep in our step. Well, it does me anyway. I give the poor barista in Starbucks in the Pavilions a terrible time. He is a deadly flirt and he makes me laugh every time I go in. He should be bottled and distributed to all instead of Prozac. Thank you Mr Barista (the Italian (I think) fella) for making my days!

I told him my flirtin' makes the world go round theory - not sex, not power, not money.
 'Are you sure it's not the other thing?' he asked.
'Positive.' sez I firmly, 'All them other things cause trouble. A bit of flirtin' never hurt anyone.'
'Y'know. You are right' sez he.

'Course I'm right. Mammy is always right.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The story that never wins anything....

I love this story but it's never been successful for me (I'd say it's too sentimental - my old fault) and I now regretfully have to consign it to the rubbish bin. But I thought I'd give it a last little chance of life - so over to you dear reader.

In These Shoes

            She sat for a while. Looked. Listened. It was thirty years since she had been to the city and it had changed - utterly. So many people. Busy, confident, attractive looking people.
 It did not look like Dublin anymore.
 She manoeuvred her wheelchair into the heaving shopping centre and with the instinct of a bassett hound trundled towards the shoe shop she wanted. As the shop window came into focus her heart started doing the Siege Of Ennis. She stopped, gasped in admiration.
A single suspended shoe was on display. A floating shoe. Shiny patent ruby red with a winklepicker toe and a treacherously spiked heel.
Shoes to do damage in.
Sexy shoes.
Racy shoes.
In these shoes she thought she might once again dance a tango. She could close her eyes and a straight-backed young man in a pristine white shirt and well pressed black trousers would hold her, lead her tease her; glide her across a highly polished wooden floor in time to music that filled her completely.
She watched her reflection in the plate glass window and superimposed on the elderly overweight solitary figure fumbling beneath the chair for her purse she saw a pretty girl. A pretty girl with laughing eyes and wavy dark hair. She sighed for the 4711 smell of the spirited girl; thought of her wavy dark hair,  that tight-bodiced full-skirted rose printed dress and longed for just one more day on those shapely legs in the sheerest of nylon stockings. Her arthritic knuckles found the much handled ad from a magazine. Unfolding it she laughed aloud. Yes! These shoes, the one in the window, the ones in the magazine.
Jimmy Choo shoes.
Soon to be her shoes.
Her heart was pounding - harder than it should, and she fleetingly wondered was she having a heart attack.
No matter. If she were to die they’d know – they’d all know - to bury her with her shoes on.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Irish weather and magic of the Hawthorn

Ireland is weather. It doesn't do climate, you may well (particularly in what passes for spring and summer) have glorious sunshine (very far away sun tho') then rain/wind and possibly sleet or snow for a brief spell before the whole damn unpredictability starts again.

I decided years ago to stop giving out about the weather. I have absolutely no control over it - nor does anyone I love/hate/vote for/work with/live with/etc/etc. But, I'm Irish - it's a national conversation - God knows why, imagine the conundrums of the world we could solve if we didn't have to spend so much time considering, discussing and dissing the weather. I have a feeling we might well be invincible. Because if the Irish weather hadn't us all in a perpetual state of depression then nothing ever will. It is unreliable, capricious, fickle and every other word you never came across for downright irritating. Perhaps the reason we/they are renowned world wide as being capricious, fickle, unreliable  etc...but adored all the same. Bring Paddy to the party - nothing gets him down.

Oh Lord! An Irish sunny day in any season is something to gladden the heart, quicken the pulse; and make one quite glad to simply be breathing.

The reason for this glasnost of hyperbole in relation to our climate/weather today  is the fact I think that in Dublin today that autumnal/winter chill is finally leaching away from the air (thank god for my heating bills!) It is about six weeks later than it ought - but still, there is definitely a hint of Summer in the air this Sunday.

I'm propped up in the leaba in my north facing bedroom writing this. The sky outside is grey (light grey but still threatening). The hawthorn in next-door's garden is in full glorious boom - magnificent. My early clematis is winding its way through the hedge and the weigelia - which is just about to burst into bloom. I can see many roofs from my position but I can also see trees and hills in the distance - on said hills I see a field of rape, it gleams like a far away Eden every time the sun pops weakly through cloud to highlight it.

Yes, summer is in the offing. And y'know - I think it'll be a good one. It'll be one I'll embrace anyway - no matter if it only lasts one day. Join me in celebrating it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Why I write.......

Back to the blog after a short hiatus. I was involved in an amateur production of the female version of ‘The Odd Couple’ by Neil Simon and life was hectic for a few weeks. Anyway, curtain pulled for the last time on Friday last so back to the ordinary madness of my life.

I’ve written very little for the last few months – I have been collaborating on a project with a songwriter friend, the very talented Karen Coleman. Remember where you heard her name first folks – it will be extremely well known soon. Between that, the play, working and vaguely trying to run a home is it any wonder I’m shattered.

I lay awake the other night wondering why in the name of the Universe did I do it to myself? I’m exhausted to the point of bringing on insomnia. I mean I could easily stop writing – it’s not as if the world was holding its breath waiting to see what I’ll write next. I could go back to work full-time thus throwing an extra couple of hundred into the family purse every month. I could chill in the evenings in my garden from Spring to Autumn. In winter I could curl up (guiltfree) with a book by the fire. I might even (heaven forbid) start talking to Jemser again; out on long boozy nights in some hostelry where we sort out all the conundrums of the universe – at least I do, all he has to do is pretend to listen, secretly wondering what happened to him at that last hole in Corballis.

Last year at Listowel Writers’ Week I took part in a workshop facilitated by the lovely Marina Carr, playwright extraordinaire. At one stage Marina said
‘Why do we do it? I mean nobody really gives a s**t.’ I came out with the stock answer,
 ‘Because we have to.
 ‘No. We think we have to.’ Marina replied, Marina is an intellectual – someone who thinks deeply on all matters and then puts her thoughts into the speech and movements of her characters thus producing some of the finest plays this country has seen. I respect her opinions and I've pondered over what she said for almost a year. BTW Listowel Writers Week 2012 starts Wednesday May 30th and if you haven't paid them a visit yet make it a 'must' on your calendar. A fantastic week with like minded people in the welcoming atmosphere of Listowel - the drink flows too! I can't go this year and I think I'll probably go into a decline! Dublin Writers Weeek is on and I'll probably attend some of those events. Listowel however beats them all for atmosphere.  

I know I don’t have to write– on one level – yet something drives me. I don’t know. My mother would have called it God given – any talent is innate I suppose, but unless you practise, use that talent; it will fade. If I lost the ability to tell stories in the way I choose through any fault of my own  e.g. not writing or by procrastinating for too long then I think it would be the nearest thing to a sin against God, Nature, The Universe – what ever.

When I was nominated for the Hennessy Award for first fiction some years ago a friend of Jemser’s (and my friend too I hope!) – Galway poet Gerard Hanberry - sent me a text telling me of a writer son who came proudly to his writing father with his first small success – Dad congratulated son then said ‘Welcome to Hell’. I laughed when I read it  but believe me five years later I know exactly what he meant! Ger is a poet and author of ‘More Lives than One’ a beautiful book about the family of the great Oscar Wilde, a book that is truly a labour of love. He also told me that having won the Hennessy I could never turn my back on writing. He is right, and I never will.

When I found ‘my voice’ something miraculous happened for me. Finally I fitted into the world around me. Up to that I always ached for something – not knowing what it was I ached for. I tried to fill the void with myriad things – alcohol, cigarettes, friends, family. But there was always something missing. I always wanted just one more ‘thing’ Someone very wise once asked me, in an unusual temper,just what it was that would make me happy?

I opened my mouth to retort at the time – then promptly shut it again. I had a bing moment. I was responsible for my own happiness. Nothing anyone did for me would work. I had to find it myself– that key, the key to my happiness. And find it I did and thank Heaven for it. Writing may well be thankless but it fulfils me. The world doesn’t care about it, but I do. I love it and it loves me (except when it needs a rest from me!). Best of all I’m not annoying anyone by rabbitting on all the time at a pace that no-one can keep up with, jumping from one subject to another. There are sections of Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ that remind me of my restless brain (I’m not claiming talent here!). On and on and on and on – to what end?

If technology ever advances to the point where they can scan your brain in to see what’s going on in all the thinking areas I’d love to see a printout of mine! I’d say it would be like one of  those abstract paintings – mad mad mad swirling colours. I write because it puts order on me. The black marks on the white of the page make me focus on the task at hand not meander down the many many byroads that pop up on my path to distract me from the job at hand.

Marina Carr may well be right about writers– I bow to her incredible intellect - but I, for one, KNOW that I write because I have to. It is the only medium through which I can express myself fully.

Now  - off to write………..

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mental weekends

This is a delayed posting because my back went out after the gardening and I ended up in the leaba for 48 hours - slowly crawling about now grumping and giving out and wondering where the jollity of this unpublished post is gone. Away with the absence of alcohol I suppose. Still. 'Twas worth it. A lovely loved up night out with the sisters followed by swimming with the boys (next morning!) and HRH Fingal's story Queen foolacting with kids then my beloved gardening to bring me gently down from HRH's insanity. Written  three days ago. Read on.
SLoDG - I'm knackered. My life has been mental for the last 24 hours and I am quite sure I will be asleep before my only personally essential viewing - 'Casualty' on the Beeb at nine bells. Thank technology for the ability to auto record a whole series. I can watch back-to-back episodes on whatever insomnia night I have every week.

I was out with 'de sisters' last night. We were supposed to go into town (for town read Dublin city) to celebrate Sister#2 (I'm #1) significant birthday. But we started with pints in sister #4's local hostelry the Beachcomber in Killester - one led to another and we ended up just popping next door to the 'NutHouse' (no wisecracks please - we've heard them all) for a really lovely meal. It's a trattoria type restaurant and really really good. Recommended.

Sister#2 - our reason for celebrating - and myself were the sensible elder lemons and headed home after the meal - of course our bolder young siblings, sisters#3&#4 returned to the hostelry and I have NO IDEA WHAT TIME THEY WENT HOME.  Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose!

So to bed, and an early start today (this was Saturday) - I went for a swim with son#1 and pretend son Oscie. Then a quick dash home to Swords for a change of persona ( btw check out http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/best-place/2012/04/10/swords-fingal-in-north-co-dublin/  my pitch for Swords as the best place to live in in Ireland).

HRH the Story Queen was running about the North County all morning Saturday, a fabulous session in the the library in Malahide - where the fashion on show was superb by my young friends and I was presented with a beautiful picture of 'Hello Kitty' especially coloured in for me by one young lady who must be magic! She didn't know as she coloured her picture that I had a very stylish pair of size 8 pink Hello Kitty crocs in my bag - HRH needed advice you see as to whether they were suitable summer footwear. It was agreed a queen could get away with them - especially when she is 437 with bunions.

After Malahide The Story Queen dashed to Easons in the Pavilions in Swords - lovely new children's section, check it out. Then a quick jaunt over to Imaginarium - a heavenly place for anyone who never grew up! The lovely staff there presented HRH with Butlers chocs (fit for a Queen) despite her causing havoc - pretend duelling, trying out a red trike and touching EVERY beautiful toy/puzzle/book in the store

Pretty tired by that stage - but one must soldier on. The other me (I'm afraid to say real - because I wonder. I really do wonder!) had trees and shrubs to plant - staking of happily growing summer perennials etc etc - and it was too nice an evening to waste in sleep. I planted a 'wedding cake' tree in our front garden - in a perfectly proportioned hole dug by son#1 - he's finally becoming useful about the place, love you son#1! If my tree grows ( as son#1 said in disbelief - 'that big hole for a stick?') it will -eventually- be stunning.

I didn't cook - I thought it was safer not to at that stage  and the juniors were really quite pleased by the takeout from our local chipper.  Now sitting here, eyelids closing and perfectly aware I'm about to have the lovliest doze.

A good day - a great weekend - and I've still got tomorrow to look forward to!!

I woke up five hours later completley and utterly crippled - had to crawl up the stairs and suffered ( not silently) for almost two days.

But it was still a great weekend.