Not Quite Bananas

Just when my nerve starts to waver and I wonder what the hell I’m doing with my life, my muse knocks on the door and presents me with a cup of Earl Grey. Or he sends a WhatsApp message with an old photo to encourage me out of hiding from under the table (again). It doesn’t stop me wondering what it’s all about (oh boy, do I have a lot of poems about the meaning of life?) but it allows for satisfying recall of some of the thrills and spills of a life (so far) well lived. A life I’m … Continue reading Not Quite Bananas

Rolling Stones

Musicians, artists, dancers, writers – there are goodly numbers of creative types who can’t get it together until they’ve a few drinks taken, or smoked something, or popped a few pills. Or at the very least, taken on  board a gallon of coffee to get the creative juices flowing. In my case its crystals. There I’ve said it. I am a (sometimes frequent) user of healing crystals to enhance my creative prowess. I know, I know – Dumbo and his feather. Actually, I’m not sure crystals do anything more than focus my mind on what’s already there – but I like … Continue reading Rolling Stones

Say It Again, Sam

Some writing is best heard rather than read.  That goes for poems, too. Especially mine. Some of them work out loud, others don’t. I’ve been fortunate this week to have had the opportunity to read my poetry to large enough audiences, first at The Word in Sligo Library (an open mic) and then in Galway at the launch of the Crannóg Magazine. Same poem. Different audiences. Same response (a puzzled silence before the polite applause). It’s one of those poems you need to look at on the page, perhaps savour a little. It’s yet another poem inspired by one of … Continue reading Say It Again, Sam

Fake Muse

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told I shouldn’t wait for inspiration to strike before I sit down to write. Successful writers just get on with it, regardless of how inspired they feel. Being precious about having the right pen, desk, light, music et al is all very well, but sometimes, good ideas can be genuinely hard to come by. And that has nothing to do with the so-called ‘Writers’ Block’. Which is why I’m often to be found in writers’ groups and workshops. As well as knowing I’m likely to come away with a new … Continue reading Fake Muse

Name That Thing

Do you ever wonder how names get attached to things? I mean, who decides? Obviously, your parents have a bit of a say in your name when you are a child. I went through a phase of shortening my name to ‘Lou’, which used to make my mother cringe. Even now, I have friends (does a husband count as a friend?) who call me Lou, although I tend to introduce myself as ‘Louise’. Lou Cole sounds like some sort of drain cleaner or an energy drink, perhaps. Not a poet who had a pub named after her for a whole … Continue reading Name That Thing

On Shedding Layers of Trepidation

It’s tomorrow. TOMORROW? Eek! I have done all the preparation I can, now I just have to wait and see if anyone turns up. I had no idea a book launch could be so nerve-wracking, or is it wrecking? Or racking? Who cares? My book of 60 poems, ‘Beyond the Green Bridge’, materialised earlier this year, before I won the Hennessy, and was as much about me getting my name out there as anything. Well, that worked a treat, and I had a first launch at Strokestown International Poetry Festival in May. I’m not sure that many people noticed – … Continue reading On Shedding Layers of Trepidation

Pay, Pals and Poetry

I was so excited to get my first poetry reading fee, I took a picture. Did you ever hear about writer’s block? I heard it’s when your imaginary friends won’t talk to you. In my case, it’s when I’ve too many things going on and not enough time to write. I’m lying, of course. I have time to write EVERY day (I keep a personal journal). Oops, that’s not right. I don’t lie, I write fiction. Even in my journal sometimes. Truth versus fiction, writer’s block, where to find inspiration, getting paid to write* – we’ve had some interesting discussions … Continue reading Pay, Pals and Poetry

Flower Power

I’ve written before about how some of my best ideas for poetry and short stories come to me as I walk the lanes of County Roscommon. These days, an inspiring  walk usually involves me taking an arthritic dog, a pen and paper, and my phone (of course). But while walking, I’m often distracted by having to name wildflowers. And then I have to stop and take photos. Because one or two thousand is never quite enough is it? The naming thing is a bit strange. I have no recollection of learning the names of so many plants, but somehow, plenty of … Continue reading Flower Power

May I?

So, what’s the best thing to do when you’re really, really busy? Yep, that’s it – find something else to do as well. So here I am, just surfacing after the head-wrecking weekend that was Strokestown International Poetry Festival, participating in a social media training course. (Don’t laugh. And no, I probably shouldn’t have responded to my terror of Facebook by deleting my page recently, but that’s another story.) While I’m at it, I could have a go at developing my memoir-writing skills with the legend that is Michael Harding, couldn’t I?  Roscommon Arts Centre’s Bealtaine course this year. And … Continue reading May I?