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

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?

Watching the Dust Settle

I’ve been busy lately coaxing dust bunnies from under the sofa, not least because I’m mad for cleaning when I’m stressed or sad.  When I’m laid back and cheery, I can’t see dust, so my house is a mess. But right now, there are lots of things going on and I’m trying to fix them with a (faux) feather duster. When I’m not waving a microfibre cloth at dirty skirtings, waiting for the phone to ring with more sad news (long story), I’m getting ready for my book launch at Strokestown International Poetry Festival. Less than two weeks to go … Continue reading Watching the Dust Settle

Creative Thinking?

I’m riding a particularly delicious literary wave after winning the Hennessy Award two weeks ago – my feet have hardly touched the ground, but in a nice way. I shouldn’t really have had any time for thinking, let alone writing, should I? What with radio interviews, trips to Dublin, and all those Facebook and Twitter messages to respond to (and I was the reluctant social media participant a while back. Ha!). But here’s a surprise, I’ve been as busy writing as ever, scribbling away, plucking poems from the ether and wondering where such creativity comes from. I like to think … Continue reading Creative Thinking?

On the Winning Side

Competitive creative writing. Now, who would have thought I’d buy into such a thing? I swear I’m not a competitive person, although I’ll have a tantrum if someone beats me at Scrabble. But creative writing competitions? What’s that all about? I don’t hold with that, do I? Um, well, yes, I do… I’m involved in running a little creative writing group in Charlestown, County Mayo, and I’m often to be heard urging members to submit their writing to competitions. It’s that third party validation thing that I’m always on about. Winning, or being shortlisted, in a writing competition offers proof … Continue reading On the Winning Side

Angelic Ever Afters

I find it difficult to write about my childhood.  Not because of disturbing memories of an unhappy past, but rather because it passed me by in something of a blur, and was relatively uneventful. I realize that to call myself a writer, I should have some agonizing incidents from my formative years to draw on, but the sad truth is, I had a vague, happy childhood. The sun always shone, I played hopscotch with my pals, and on Sundays we ate Angel Delight for afters. Well, maybe it did, maybe I did, maybe we did, the truth is, I really … Continue reading Angelic Ever Afters