Iechyd da!

I say you chaps! I’ve found some splendid new words to play with since coming to Tŷ Newydd. Welsh ones, as well as some half-forgotten English ones. Apparently, the Welsh language has been around for 1,500 years, despite various attempts to kill it off; it is now spoken by more than half a million people in Wales, plus another 160,000 around the world. Being married to a Welshman, I should have known this already. In my defence, I might not speak the language, but I can bake passable Welsh cakes when tasked. But not this week, this has been all … Continue reading Iechyd da!

Always Take The Weather With You

The late Elmore Leonard, American novelist and screenwriter, famously advised would-be writers they should never start a book with descriptions of the weather. It is one of the good ol’ writing tips that gets churned out at workshops and writing classes.  But what if your book is about meteorologists? Or a life-changing hurricane? Or Storm Louise (I kid you not)? Or perhaps you are writing about happy bunnies enjoying a picnic in the sun? Yes, well…. The weather is something we have plenty of here in Ireland. It is unlikely you’ll ever pass a day without talking about it. In … Continue reading Always Take The Weather With You

Snap, Crackle and Pop

You’ve heard of brothel creepers? Silent shoes, so no-one can hear you coming (or going)? Great idea, but why has no-one invented silent waterproof jackets? Perhaps if there was a catchier name… Walking the dog requires me to wear a waterproof jacket (come on, it is August and I am in Ireland), but the amount of noise it makes is doing my head in. Rustle, crinkle, snap. Like popped rice cereal, but without the milk or flavour. I walk along trying to keep up with my girl Tully, making sure to swing my arms (so my wristband records maximum steps … Continue reading Snap, Crackle and Pop

The Writer is ‘In’

You can tell when I’m ‘writing’.  The kitchen floor’s immaculate (yes, really), there are freshly baked scones in the tin, I have washed the car (yes, really), weeded the borders, walked the dog, groomed the cats, spent an hour on Twitter, done four loads of washing, and ironed my way to the bottom of the basket (yes, really). In other words, I’ve put off the dreaded deed until I’ve completed one hundred zillion important chores which simply HAVE to be done before I can park my bum on the chair in front of my computer, and get down the actual … Continue reading The Writer is ‘In’

Word Juicing For Scribes

It can be quite difficult to keep coming up with new writing ideas and ways of making those creative juices flow (yes, I agree, that sounds borderline disgusting), but if you are looking for some writing inspiration, read on. I run a lovely fortnightly creative writing group in the far reaches of County Mayo, Ireland, where we’re often looking for something to write about while we’re waiting for the kettle to boil (again). I thought I’d share some of our prompts and writing exercises, should you find yourself in a similar predicament. In our group, we have writers of all … Continue reading Word Juicing For Scribes

Read All About It

My kitchen floor’s a mess again. What with books to read, poems to write, creative writing groups to facilitate and sick cats to pet, I shouldn’t be surprised that there’s no time to mop the floor. Or clean the windows (you have to do that more than once a year? Really?). That’s the trouble with household chores like cleaning. You get it  all done, and then in an instant,  it needs doing again. And time can be so much better spent reading. I mean, good books don’t read themselves, do they? It was probably a bit of a coincidence, but … Continue reading Read All About It

A Shed Called London

I want a shed. Pretty please. Somewhere I can hide away and write my masterpiece. And wallow in self-pity, should the need arise. Of course, a week-long writer’s retreat in Monaghan might help get me started on the masterpiece, but it appears that’s not to be – more of that later. But what is it about wanting a room of one’s own? I’ve written before about how much I long for my own space, claiming the lack of same is what’s holding me back from becoming (ahem) a best-selling novelist/children’s author/poet/playwright (delete as appropriate). But of course, I know it … Continue reading A Shed Called London

The Plot Thickens

Did I mention I’m writing a novel – a joint effort with my criminologist daughter? It’s a kind of grip-lit character-led thriller. Standing in the supermarket queue, that’s the sort of thing to drop into a conversation beginning with Irish weather/Brexit/refugees/the price of petrol/Leo-at-the-helm (delete as appropriate). Or is it? Since we went public with our plans to write a novel together – we’re ‘Luri Cole’ (a mix of Louise and Rhiannon), we seem to have ground to a halt. The more people we tell, the slower moving the project, or so it seems. Not sure why. Originally, we thought … Continue reading The Plot Thickens

I Started Early – Didn’t Take My Dog (or Visit the Sea)

If you happened to be listening to yesterday afternoon’s  Drive Time programme on RTE Radio One, you  might have heard a segment about Poetry Day Ireland (April 27th 2017), about a whole day of poetry, in all sorts of places throughout Ireland. (Listen here, starting about 1:58 in). The over-excited voice commenting about getting up at 5.30am in County Roscommon in order to get to Dublin in/on time – well, that was ME! I was interviewed about my favourite poet/poems, and of course I had to mention my devotion to Seamus Heaney (forgot to mention Emily!).  I also gave a … Continue reading I Started Early – Didn’t Take My Dog (or Visit the Sea)

Losing The Windmills Of My Mind

I’ve waited for the dust to settle before writing the final instalment of my what-I-did-on-my-writing-course essay. I figured the gushing was a bit OTT and I needed to come back down to earth a bit. Or not. So. Tŷ Newydd (no, I still can’t pronounce it properly, despite being married to a Welshman and having lived in the country for a brief time during my formative years). Well, what else is left to say? I had a BRILLIANT time. The place is lovely, the actual building as well as the surroundings. The accommodation was exactly fit for purpose. The tutors … Continue reading Losing The Windmills Of My Mind