Saturday, January 31, 2009

More things to do when you should be working on your masterpiece

We're back in business, the arms are healing, the old camera charger has been found, the darned cd is still missing, but it'll come home eventually.
Here's something I tried when I started to first get a bit disheartened with D'aul novel. I casted it. Took a bundle of papers and magazines and cut em up. Deciding what my characters looked like, in some cases showing where they lived etc etc. Stuck em all up on a big piece of wallpaper, that was supposed to grow and change and act like a bible for the book, but guess what? It ended up down the back of a set of drawers. However it did provoke a bit more thought in myself, showed me more about what I was thinking about some of them, helped me get excited about the thing when it was dragging a bit, so from that point of view alone it was useful. One of the major characters, and her friends are all obsolete now, she was replaced by a dog. (That's another good tip, if you can replace a major character with a dog in your book, it probably means they aren't adding too much). This little collage also means I'll be so ready when Hollywood comes a calling. Although it might have been a bit ambitious - looking to cast Colm Meaney (that's him with his head on sideways) - altho it's only a small role, he could do it in half an hour of shooting, so maybe the budget would stretch to that.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Incredible adventures of the tree skinned girl

For once I'm glad to be without the photographic facilities.
If I had them I might be tempted to show you my rash. A weird tubular thing that feels like the bark of a tree has developed on both of my upper arms over the past week.
My parents would tell you I've always been allergic to work, but wouldn't it be just darling if I was actually allergic to something in my new job. My nice new job which is such a short distance from my house that I can write in the mornings before I go there. With all the nice interesting work that I like so much.
Anyway I can't go to aquafit tonight. Yerrah it's useless anyway. The only time aquafit would come in handy would be if for some reason you had to lift your knees up really high while wading through a liquid, and say you had to keep your arms up, but then touch your elbows to your knees with every step, if there was some emergency that called for that particular skill... then I'd be glad of the practise, otherwise it's a waste of energy.
Anyway - here's hoping the rash doesn't spread... you should probably log out soon in case you catch a virus or something from this blog.*

*credit for the idea of computers catching viruses from real illnesses goes to Joe Mc K from LWs - just in case you thought I was being funny there.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Things that are still lost

The linky wire for the new camera,


The charger for the old camera,


1 cd out of 8 in a cd book that was due back to the library last week, having already been extended the first time I tried to return the 7 remaining cds.

So still no pics for the blog... in place of that - I give you Saturday's snippet from Group - my rather horrific reaction to the top of my hairdryer, and if you're about to suggest I should be goin to another type of "Group" - don't. Cos I've already brought it up now, no one would believe you thought of it on your own.... (fiendishly clever I am).

Glass oval eyelets, he tied his lace. Tom squinted upwards, the light was hard, tough on his lashes, he felt like the heat would finish him. Resuming the work, the hissing began in the corner again. His breathing like glue, lungs clamped in revolt. He thought about her, then cursed, can't afford distractions at a time like this. One came close, his knuckles red and sore, dangerous job. That's what everyone had said. Did he listen? Like hell. The hissing grew louder, teeth feel liquid, his face is running, wakes up screaming:

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I had a great idea for a blog post. But needed to take a picture of something - to show you, to illustrate if you will.
Then, my old camera ran out of batteries.
Then, I couldn't find my old charger, because only the new camera's charger is allowed be near the plug.
Then, I charged the new camera instead - which was also out of batteries.
Then, I took the picture with the new pink camera.
Then, I found that the only linky wire I had for attaching to the computer is the one for the old camera, since I use the old camera more since it's faster at downloading.
Then, I tore the place apart trying to find the new camera linky wire.
Then, I found a linky wire that didn't work with the old camera.
Then, I tried it with the new camera.
And guess what - it didn't work.
Then, I thought: I can just swap the card from the new camera into the old camera to download from the old camera.
Then, I remembered that the old camera is out of batteries.
Then, I wondered if the repetition in this post is irritating the hell out of anyone.
Then, I thought maybe the inappropriate gratuitous comma might be even more annoying.
Then, I said to myself, I don't care, I don't care, because guess what? I'm annoyed too!!! Feckin technology, back to slates and chalk with the lot of us...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What the kids saw

I was lucky enough last wk to get a phone call from a lady in Clondalkin, asking me to run a kids writing workshop. 1.5 hrs, 15 kids 6,7,8 yrs old - during normal working hours.... AAARGHH. Somehow got the time out from a very sound boss, and put together a program of work, with alot of help from friends who know more about kids and writing than me.

One of the best exercises was a brainstorm of memories from their walk to the library. And the results were brilliant:

a sinister staring cat, a green school, grandparents gardens, new places they hadn't been, crossing lots of roads, 4 magpies, a big red squirrel eating a nut, having to be quiet in case people were asleep, smell of bananas, tree with buds, red, green, yellow, black cars - though not all those colours on the one car, a wedding not going ahead - because of the weather, rubbish on the ground (bottles and crisp packets, and no I didn't make them write a poem about it), 4 planes that looked small because they were far away, Tesco, Hairdressers, a silver nissan, some people walked slow, some people made "CHCHHCHCH" noises all the way there, it was cold, the traffic was noisy.

It was a great old experience so it was. Loved the bit when I handed them out blank pages to write on, and got fifteen faces full of consternation as they were worried about the lack of lines to write on.

Amazing kids - each and every one.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thieving Backstards!!

Got the following mail today - it's an urgent plea for help in solving a crime in Cork - Cork where people are all nice, it must have been an outsider job. Anyways - spread the word and lets get FRED reunited with their gear!!!!! cos they're kinda quiet without it....

"Cork band Fred lost thousands of euro worth of equipment when they were
the victims of theft in their hometown last week.

The band's music equipment was robbed from their van parked across from
Anglesea Garda Station in Cork - and yes, they're aware of the irony!

The loss has hit them hard as they're about to embark on a North
American tour and were planning a few warm-up shows in the coming month.

The band have released a list of stolen gear, and are encouraging music
fans to keep an eye out for anyone trying to sell it on.

The equipment taken includes:
Fender Blues Junior re issue amp with tweed finish
Fender sunburst precision bass
Fender Stage 100 amp
Pearl masters white marine pearl finish with gold trim rack tom
drum;(12"x8") in rigid black case with yellow straps on catches
Pearl Masters sparkly blue snare drum with chrome trim()14"x6" kept in
worn wine coloured case covered in old stickers with black tie strap
Trace Elliot bass head.

Fred's Joseph O'Leary has asked anyone with any information to get in
touch: "If anyone happens to see any of these items under suspicious
circumstances, please let the gardai know or email us at
seosav at gmail dot com
Any help with this would be really appreciated."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Writers for Peace

Poetry Ireland in association with Trócaire and Amnesty International has organised a reading with some of Ireland's finest writers, in response to the situation in Gaza. Each writer will read for 5-7 minutes at this non-partisan event.

Tuesday 20 January 6.30pm (sharp) - 8.30pm

Reading on the night Evelyn Conlon, John F Deane, Anne Enright, Hugo Hamilton, Seamus Heaney, Ronit Lentin, Michael Longley, Susan McKay, Lia Mills, Judith Mok, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Mary O'Donnell, Peter Sirr, Colm Tóibín, and Macdara Woods.

St Anne's Church, Dawson St, D2

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Calling all Rubbish Poets

Here's a challenge, competition, call it whatever you want:

You will need, a plastic bag, a camera and a glove (or a second plastic bag).

You need to go out and find some random rubbish, on the side of the road, in your local park, some public place. Do not use your own rubbish. It will not work if you don't go out and find someone else's. Hopefully you will have to travel many miles before you find some rubbish, so when you do, don't be selfish. Pick up and bring home with you no more than 3 random pieces of rubbish. Ideally take a photo of the rubbish in situ - for posterity. (beware the neighbours will find this strange, and you will endure a certain amount of curtain twitching when you are walking back across the road into your house with the rubbish - so be prepared to make a quick decision.)

Write a poem inspired by the 3 articles you have collected.

There is no time limit, it is not Rubbish Poetry Month. When the poem is ready, leave it as a comment on this post, or mail to me if you want. I am offering to send my 3 pieces of rubbish to whoever writes the best Rubbish Poem, so do get a move on.

In this way we are turning those ignoramuses who litter into collaborative artists, without their permission!! Bwa hahaha!!! While also cleaning up the world etc etc - the benefits are obvious. My poem is gonna be on the comments of this in a few minutes... and it is truly a rubbish poem, you have been warned.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Happy News

Happy News, the plane, the river, the wings, a hero, role model, action man. Whatta guy. Inspiring. How many birds were killed, what type, where were they flying? Were they beautiful cold geese, did he hit a ghost, a troop of aliens, who'll now come raging fiery retribution on the world? No - just a load of flying rats, rodents in the air. Nothin important. Every person rescued. Was there anythin hit at all? Was he a terrorist who grew a conscience at the last minute? Either way, by landing safe, in water, cradling his sheep back to mother earth, gently avoiding skaters, rowers, or 15 buck pedalos, he has lifted the rest of us. The whole world sighs relief, happy news at last.
I remember that......

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Boy named Stew

Well talk about strange names.

I thought it was worth a chuckle that the world's fastest runner was called Bolt. Also a bit strange was the fact that the guy who owned the feed place that caused the dioxin thing was called Hogg. Found it funny too that the head of one of the worlds biggest meat company's that just happened to be stepping down last week was called Dick Bond. What a suave CEO name - "the names Bond, Dick Bond." - no wonder he stepped down

But the prize for worst naming episode of recent times surely goes to the "DICK" - a sausage stuffing machine. Yes, produced by Beavis and Butthead inc, this is a real piece of equipment that really produces sausages. "You want a sausage? Let me just get my DICK"

Photographic evidence below:

Yes - that's my legs in my big white trousers crouching down in the reflection to get a good pic. And by the way - handy tip for anyone trying to lose weight (well more for those trying to think they're losing weight). Simply wear an extra pair of trousers, over your normal trousers all day at work, to create the illusion that you are actually massive, you'll feel svelte as an aquafit genius by the time you get home in your tiny little legs in one pair of little trousers!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2 new things

The first new thing I'd like to propose is a Swiminema, ie a cross between a cinema and a swimming pool, big screen, heated pool, ok the candy floss and popcorn will need some serious thought regarding packaging, but c'mon it's obvious - some industrious young entrepreneur out there could make a fortune on it, and here I am giving the idea away freely... You saw it here first.

The second new thing is a sneak preview of my Novel - as shown in the below diagram. Each line represents a different character's path through the book... The idea is for me to try and do anything other than actually having to think about it too hard, so that some day I will have 20 million different analyses/ squiggles/ mind maps of a book that will never exist. Hope you like the pic anyway, sadly it makes absolutely no sense to be either. I used to be good at art. This looks more like Fucus Vesiculosis than anything else - and I used to know how to spell that too. You'd think there should be some other useful skills in my repertoire, replacing all the ones I've lost over the years, wouldn't you?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

And the covetted award for most tiring day of the week goes to....

TODAY. And it's only 10 to 12.

I'm posting from Cork, and if you're wondering about the sudden lack of gratuitous cursing and nudity in the blog, I've cleaned it up beyond recognition, in order to show it to my folks...
Last night we left the first opening night (going for a record no. of mentions of the word night in a sentance here) of Nighthawks at around 11.00 at night, (not only because I'm a boring old sod, really, honestly) excellent club, don't ever go, seriously, we nearly didn't get in - but just managed to squeeze in, so I'm not recommending it to anyone. (But I have to admit it was brilliant, great mix of things as promised, too many highlights to single out. Well done CK and SK)
So we got home in good time to enjoy the chinese water torture that was my neighbour's car alarm, going off at regular intervals - every half hour or so during the night, marvellous.

Today I arose at 7.50 am, in order to drive to Cork, so excited about seeing aforementioned new baby - see last post if you missed it. But then, did I check the opening/ visiting hours? Did I heck! Remember - not a planner. So I'm an hour down the road by the time I hear visiting opens at 3pm, and the bouncers are pretty tough. Had to divert to plan B, instead of going straight to the hospital, I'm here enjoying the home comforts, and showing the folks the blog for the first time. I think I've created a monster, my mother's set up on facebook and all now... Every one should become friends with her, she's lovely.

Will be a grumpy gut by the time I get back to Mr VC (to be) I fear, but I guess these obnoxious bursts of energy come with a price - what is the craic tho - disco, walk and now long round trips halfway down the country? I'm beginning to worry.

Photo is courtesy of

Friday, January 9, 2009

Trivial Life X 10

One of my oldest friends (not that she's old - just that I nearly know her longest out of anyone I know) had her first baby - a boy - today.

Makes anything else I did today look extremely trivial... Not that I'm broody; just that rediscovering the fact that singing in the bath with your ears below the water line makes you sound really cool - doesn't seem quite as much of an achievement...

And now all I've to look forward to is a celebration of 200 million years of the GAA - late late show style... Gah!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Triviality Alert



On wanting to be the BEST

I don't mean in a Tina Turner "Simply" kinda way. I just noticed last night, that I had an overwhelming desire to be the VERY best participant that my Aquafit class has ever seen. I don't know what it is; maybe it's all the extra exercise I've been getting lately, (remember a walk and a disco in the last month alone!!), or it could just be the lack of heart I'm feeling with the aul book, and the knowledge that's slowly creeping up on me that I might still be another while away from the Nobel Prize for literature, like it'd be pointless buying a dress for the acceptance speech just yet. But I do want to be best at something, and maybe last night I had a bit of a "Moment of Clarity" where I realised, I could indeed be the best at something.
So I pointed my toes more than anyone when doing the scissors kicks, imagined I was back in ballet when doing the sideways leaps - so gracefully, I was even making up my own moves to the music when the teacher was going too slow at the handover, and god did I ever feel superior to the people who didn't get it, the ones who didn't move forward when they should have, I jogged on the spot behind them with the patience of a SAINT... But I was the best, ask anyone, they'll tell ya, course I can't be sure because you can't actually see what the people way over on the other side are doing, but I was DEFINITELY the best on my side of the pool. Hell yes.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Disturbing Parallels

I have often read or heard of writers giving advice on writing. I have also often heard lots of advise on cooking. I'm beginning to think my failings, and successes in both areas may originate somewhere around the same part of the brain.

You should let stories or novels marinate. Give them time to breathe, or develop flavour, or cook. Then go back to them fresh, after a few weeks of this slow baking, and you'll be better equipped to retackle it, finish it off or whatever.

I'm not that kind of person. I can't leave well alone, can't wait for things to develop. I'm a fiddler, a nervous ticky kind of interferer who must be allowed to mess with things while still in progress. This is why, if you are invited to my house for dinner, and there is something that takes ages to cook, it will be accompanied by a hundred side dishes, that I'll have been doing in the meantime. They mightn't work with the main dish, they might not have been planned, but they happened because the stuff that went into them happened to be there, and I happened to think of them at the time. This spirit of experimentation and restlessness down through the years has led to such wondrous meals as Tayto cheese and onion crisps in spag bol, italian coddle, and pizza flavoured ice pops (more impatience really on that one), as well as many a crunchy centred potato, or potato flavoured hot water with bacon on one memorable (and not at all hilarious)example of particularly poor timing.

In writing, and especially with the aforementioned shaky novel, I didn't sit down and do out a plan, didn't properly do a list of the ingredients I'd need, and now that the time has come where it is generally recommended that it should be put in a drawer and forgotten for a few months, I can't help leaving it there, on the table all the time. Turning up and down the heat, adding scenes, scraping burnt characters off the bottom, frantically trying to take out the bits that really taste awful, frying up a bit of garlic and hastily chopping snippets of memories and dreams to scatter in at the end, messy business this. But I always did like getting my hands dirty.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Why my legs want Saturday renamed "the day of needless torture"

Yesterday: Gave the car a day off, (because not driving 500 miles a week anymore isn't enough of a break), took the bus into town, (with the added bonus that you can read on buses not really happening since I forgot to bring "The Plague" with me). Saw a creepy dead rat oozing red in an alleyway parallel to O'Connell's St, (extra creepy because I know from the book what happens next). Left Mr Variouscushions-to-be in the region of Boyers to find a tablecloth (which I really like now we have it, but couldn't stand being around so many curtains long enough to help with). Went to the famous Winding Stair to correct the bookless situation (a bit intimidatingly cool, and I couldn't see the stairs, maybe they're behind the curtains? but I managed to find something). Reunion - then lunch, followed by a long walk out along the quays to IMMA - (saw some cool stuff - todays photo is of an urban drawing that kind of reminds me of a living organ). Followed by another long walk.... all the way.... home. About 8 miles in all, another couple of stops along the way, first time ever to cross the M50 on foot - on a bridge, (not that I've crossed it by foot any other way).

I always used to think that wherever you go in life you leave a shadow, an outline of yourself, that is stronger or weaker depending on the time spent, so in a car the trail left would be of your body floating along in a seated position, fairly faint where you've gone fast, or solid in the parts where you got caught in traffic. I used to be obsessed with making sure I had covered my house completely in this way, that I had sat in every possible corner. I imagined sometime in the future you could flick a switch and see the shape of everywhere you had been, or even where you'd crossed paths with others, taken the same journey or whatever. Anyway, as of yesterday, it feels like for the first time ever I have a solid line (cos you only get a solid line when walking) going all the way from here right to the city centre: Kind of feel more connected.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Literary Highlights 2008

1. Lucan Writers win 2nd best writer's group in the whole country at Longfords writer's group festival

2. Began and facilitated the Lucan Teen Writer's Group with a lot of help and support from the talented folk in Ireland's 2nd best writer's group. Seriously would advise anyone, who wants to take writing seriously, to set up a writer's group for teens in your area now. Forces you to think about writing kind of seriously at least once every 2 weeks, has done alot for me. Plus you can steal their stuff. Ok maybe not. But it is one of the best things I've ever done.

3. Won a trip to Ennis Book Club Fest, for a 100 word bit about book clubs, got in free to see lots of great writer's talking, workshopping etc, brilliant.

4. Got a poem published in a book. First poem of mine published. Ever.

5. Volunteering at Dublin Writer's Fest, got to see another load of writers talking for free. And got to meet and sit in a taxi with David Grossman. He's huge in Israel. An amazing man. He read Ulysses before he came over cos it was his first time in Ireland. He writes fiction and fact, and told me he cannot write a shopping list when he's writing a novel. Anyway - another good idea for writerly people - think I'll be volunteering again this year. Plus you get to stand around wearing black and telling people where to sit. Lovely crowd volunteered at it too.

6. Another publication - a story and recipe about my mother's pizza.

7. Began this blog - instant gratification for self publication, ok sometimes it's a bit dodge, but has me hooked now. Am gonna try and change the quality/ quantity balance in the coming year tho.

8. My first, second and third ever public readings of my private poems. First one in the ballroom in Farmleigh - magic.

9. Finished the first rather shaky draft of my first shaky novel (IF AND ONLY IF you don't include my masterpiece "Billy got married" written in the cursive on a music copy book in 1983 or so, which was of course my first real novel). What's it about? It's about 120 thousand words, and it makes no sense at all... yet - a work in progress.

10. The proudest literary moment of the year by far has to have been the launch of the infamous first ever "International Put your Poem in a Shop" Month. (Where 'proudest' refers to 'most largely ignored', and 'infamous first' refers to 'heartbreakingly dissappointing first and last ever' - and I do mean to include the 2 evers there.)

Quite a year. I'm not sharing any thoughts on goals or ambitions for 09, because you'll only read this in 12 months time and laugh or cry very loudly, and I wouldn't have that on my conscience.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Computers and Fish

Yes, bitten by the distraction bug again today. Was going to download a lovely ad for you, but was stopped by the evil video fairy, so here's what to paste in your browser to see it. Very funny. Just love the look of the computer in it as well.

So since I couldn't put the vid in - here's a random photo - kinda matches my new colour scheme at least.