Monday, November 28, 2011

The most wonderful time...

Yes, that time of year is almost upon us again. With the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you "Be of good cheer" for it's almost the most exciting, delighting month internationally.
There were rumours that IPYPIASM might be forgotten this year, amidst new children, new jobs, lack of snow to focus the mind, the organisers' terrible new haircut, but NO. It is going to happen, and it is going to happen soon.

In a few short days we will be ready to tear the November page off the calender and throw it in the shredder (our plans for november are very confidential) along with all the guilt for not having written a novel or growing extra hair for charity. Yes we'll be free to move on to the glory of December. Also known as "INTERNATIONAL PUT YOUR POEM IN A SHOP MONTH"
We're going into our fourth year, and last year despite adverse weather conditions, poems managed to find their way into no less than 1400 different shopping expeditions (I may be multiplying by 100 for effect), across 20 continents (this time multiplying by 10 for effect) and brought joy and wonder to beleaguered queue battling shoppers everywhere.
This year it's going to be bigger and better than ever before, because you, dear reader, are going to be one of the many, the brilliant, who make this part of your tradition. No one has yet ever regretted putting a poem in a shop*. So, get ready, you have a few days yet to get yourselves in gear. Why not visit 2009's interim report to get ye in the mood. Click here for it.

And here's a picture of a boy with a balloon just to get ye in the mood.

* in that so far no one, to my knowledge has been arrested.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

They said it couldn't be done

I was musing this morning on the fact that I am the type of person who gets most motivated when told that I probably can't do something. In college a good friend, who shall remain nameless, once broke off our studying relationship because I was too much of a messer and she wanted to do well in the exams, thus giving me all the boost I needed to actually finally knuckle down and not do too badly in the end.
Likewise, almost six months ago I was visited by a public health nurse who seemed kind of bemused when I told her that babs was eating at least 20 times per day (I counted, so I knew). And she left me a chart explaining how to make up formula because as she said "Most women change over after awhile, so you'll probably give up." Anyway - maybe she was just a genius reverse psychologist in disguise but whatever happened, we're still going strong (and the more people ask about when I return to work, the more I'm hoping to keep going beyond that too).
I just need someone now to tell me that I'll probably never write again and that it's not worth even putting in the 5 minutes here and there that I'm only half managing to do at the moment, since I've most likely got zero ability for writing anything half worth reading, anything I got published in the past was pure fluke, and there's nothing left in me, so I should just give up now. So please, discourage me.... it's the strongest motivator I know.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Something to be careful of

It's that time of year folks, just make sure ye wrap up the man folk, let's let this be the year we stamp out manflu

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Go to see Anamaria Crowe Serrano

If you do nothing else this weekend and you live in Dublin... you should go to see Anamaría - she's one of my favourite poets ever - in a weird kind of, I just seem to get her poems straight away and they're always personal and affecting and I feel like I've felt exactly like the feelings the poems describe but I couldn't have described it that way, kinda thing.
Anyway she has not one, but two interesting looking gigs coming up and since I can't go, I said I'd at least let my millions of readers know about them and see if ye can't get along in my place and let me know about it.

JAM Sandwich - A reading with Anamaría Crowe Serrano and Jennifer Matthews

Saturday 26th November 2011

3 p.m. The Loft Bookshop

@ The Twisted Pepper, 54 Middle Abbey Street

Jennifer and Anamaría will read from their "JAM Sandwich", a poetic conversation they've been having for the past few years.

Anamaría Crowe Serrano is an Irish poet living in Dublin. She works as a translator of poetry from Spanish and Italian, and is a teacher of Spanish language. Her work has been published in Ireland and abroad and includes a chapbook, one columbus leap (Corrupt Press, Paris, 2011), which chronicles Columbus' voyage to the New World, as well as a full length collection, Femispheres, published in 2008 (Shearsman, UK). She is the recipient of two awards from the Arts Council of Ireland.
Her interest in collaborative work led to the publication of Paso Doble (Empiria, Rome, 2006), a poetic dialogue written with Italian poet, Annamaria Ferramosca, and a collection (forthcoming) still in search of a title, written with Cork-based poet, Jennifer Matthews.
Jennifer Matthews was born in Missouri (USA) and has lived in Ireland since 2003. Her poetry has been published in Mslexia, Revival, Necessary Fiction and Poetry Salzburg, and anthologised in Dedalus's collection of immigrant poetry in Ireland, Landing Places (2010). She has read her work at Night Blue Fruit, The Fizz, and the Heaventree Poetry Festival in the UK, and as a guest poet with 'Catch the Moon' (Cork, Ireland). Her most recent poems were published in Foma and Fontenelles and Cork Literary Review in 2011.
A poetry reading with Anamaría Crowe Serrano
inspired by the paintings of Catalan artist Jordi Forniés
6 p.m. Filmbase, Temple Bar, D2
Saturday, 26 November, 2011
The reading is part of Jordi's exhibition, Mirabile Dictu,
which runs in Filmbase from Nov 15 to Dec 4,
curated by Olivier Cornet (
A preview of the catalogue can be seen at
Jordi Forniés (born in Huesca, 1971) is a Catalan artist based in Dublin. A chemist by training, Jordi knows a thing or two about pigments and paint.

His experience in this area combined with a very strong interest in the mineral world has lead Jordi to reinvent or re-interpret the complex yet beautiful landscapes within and without, mixing traditional and cutting edge design techniques. Sculpting external material into the canvas before blending colours as time would in rock formations, the artist invites us on a journey through the inner self, exploring the geology of the mind, the meandering of distant memories, the erosion of emotions, the passing of love.

Read more about Jordi at

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Some things we learned

at the writing course I went to a few months back... gosh it's taking me ages to anything at all these days. Anyway here's a few of the pointable pointers from my notes

Imagine showing your work to the great writers... is it good enough? if not keep working on it - don't say "it'll do".
Every day you MUST open the dictionary - it's like washing your face, and even if you don't read a word, open it still. Words bring with them everywhere they've been - know their history if you can.
Author's judgements on the page make the author present.
A story can't just be about another sad case - make it matter, the reader needs to suffer with the character, need to find something new.
Give essential information as early as possible in a story.
You covet what you see, what's noticed by your character tells a lot about what they want.
Nothing in a short story can come to nothing - everything must have significance.
Imagine you are representing the character in court, you have to represent them fairly and honestly.
Self expression is what happens after 3 double whiskeys, great fiction is full of restraint.

Anyway - those are just a few of the things I thought were worth noting. Hope any of yez that are writers out there get some value from them.

Sunday, November 13, 2011



the action involving removing - from cupboards, under beds, the back of wardrobes, and other miscellaneous places - the various items that were put there in preparation for "having visitors", in the hopes of appearing somewhat tidy, and which now are almost lost. Usually includes but is not limited to; packed bags brought on trips and not yet unpacked, hairbrushes, shoes of all kinds, useful things that normally live on the visible surfaces of your home which you almost cannot live without, but which can also be found at your parents house down the road if you're really stuck.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Where were the social workers?

.... when I put together this little bit of homework... (images aren't uploading for some reason, so you're going to have to trust me and imagine em)

Yes, in another edition of "whose childhood is it anyway", we have unearthed a few timely exhibits which prove beyond doubt that early intervention would have made an entirely different person out of me - after all - who could look at this and view it as anything other than a cry for help?

Exhibit A: According to this - I had no favourite possessions... nothing at all, the space on the worksheet is left blank. More disturbingly still - in the box marked "What I would love to do sometime" I had written "Become famous and happy" - then for some reason... my 11 year old self decided to give up on happiness there and then, take my little red biro and scribble it right out of existence. I wonder what prompted such a move - did I feel I was being unrealistic in wanting both? did the teacher force me to choose? and most of all - would the child I was back then be impressed with the progress I've made on both fronts??

Exhibit B (from the back of the same page): "Write something happy that happened to you" I wracked my little eleven year old brain and all I could come up with was an accident involving me falling from a trailer... really? was that the happiest moment I could come up with?

perhaps I just had difficulty with understanding the word "happy" itself, this is most likely - if I associated happy with falling out of trailers it would be most sensible of me to want to avoid such things... or maybe I really did like making up things.... like stories.... (as I claimed on the first sheet)

Anyway - this really doesn't work without the pictures, so apologies and thanks for your patience if you have read it. :-)