Fighting your way through the process…

I’ve been thinking a lot about the hard work of creativity, of life. How the best always seems the most simple and the clearest. How behind this clarity is years and years of graft and inspiration and struggle.

Ira Glass says “You just have to fight your way through that….”
This short video encapsulates all of this – take 2 minutes, 18 seconds out of your day and enjoy!

THE GAP by Ira Glass from Daniel Sax on Vimeo.

 

Writers Read: The Joy of Re-Reading

This is the week when there are so many “best of” lists that it feels like too much  pressure to finish the already large to be read pile before engaging with these lists and adding even more to your to be read pile.

So I have decided to revisit books that have given me joy – without searching out books from my bookshelves but going on memory and finding books within easy reach.

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What books remain with me, years after reading them…..A small pile. A delightful pile. A pile of well-read and well-worn books that await fresh eyes.

And one book, yes, the faded yellow Salinger at the top of the pile, from my teenage years when I wrote my name and followed it with an exclamation mark! And the second from my childhood – Watership Down. Both of these to hand as I have passed them on to my teenagers. The rest are more recent reads, but diverse and wonderful – poetry, non-fiction, short stories and a novel. 

In advance of the 31st December ….  Happy Reading and Happy New Year!

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The Joys of Festivals: Readers, Writers and Artists

Duality was launched at Kildare Community Library on Friday, 11th October as part of The Kildare Readers Festival.

It was a great night with a warm introduction by Celine Broughal and a moving launch speech by Lucina Russell (Arts Officer County Kildare). The hard work in creating and collaborating melts away when artists and readers find joy and meaning in the work.

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In conversation

The audience questions were engaging and thought-provoking and provided great discussion.

Thank you to all who came along on the night, participated and supported us. We are very grateful. We are looking forward to further readings and exhibitions of the art work over the coming months and into 2020 – more details soon! 

Me Celine Lucina Margo

(L to R: Shauna Gilligan, Celine Broughal, Lucina Russell, Margo McNulty)

Photographs: Used with permission and thanks to Kildare Community Library/Kildare Readers Festival.

 

 

 

The Reading Life reviews short story “Sybil’s Dress”

Mel Ulm’s blog about books, literature and writers The Reading Life, rightly declares itself “a multicultural book blog, committed to Literary Globalism”. It often provides insight into short fiction from around the world. In one of his recent blog posts he reviews my short story “Sybil’s Dress”, published this Spring in The Cabinet of Heed (Issue 19).  Mel kindly describes it as “a marvelous story”, one which prompted him to find out about the real Sybil Connolly.

Reading life.
Mel Ulm’s The Reading Life

 

Book post, choice, and privilege

I’m currently reading the enthralling Her Kind by Niamh Boyce (Penguin: London, 2019) and looking forward to welcoming Niamh to my Writers’ Chat series shortly.

Meanwhile I received wonderful book post this week:

  • James Baldwin If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Hiro Arikawa The Travelling Cat
  • Mario Levrero Empty Words
  • Sinéad Gleeson Constellations

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The hardest task will be which book to dive into first – – the choice of creative non-fiction essays (ones which beg to be savoured), the mind of a cat (the pull of life, there), urban scape (and that wonderful way Baldwin has with words), handwriting & notebooks (rather close to the bone). And I think, then, about the privilege of choice and wonder if I should write for a while.

Festive Reading, Thinking and Doing

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I love reading books recommended by readers and writers which means my to be read pile just keeps growing.

These days I’m reading a lot on the kindle. Having ‘turned’ the last page of Stephen King’s The Outsider last week I’m now almost finished with the truly wonderful Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room. 

After that I’m going to move through the pile above – yes. I will be revisiting books already read, re-reading and analysing, reading fresh stories, typing, baking and cooking.

I will be allowing my mind compost (as Anne Lamott might say), letting my body rest. As much as I can. Intentions are part of the trick, I think. Oh yes and at some stage over Christmas I will write.

And give and receive presents. And be grateful. And make plans to get that new to be read pile down. Joy, I say, the joys of reading. That ‘portable magic’, as Stephen King calls it. In today’s world of inequality, extreme politics, and violence, we need this magic more than ever.

 

 

The book creates meaning, the meaning creates life….My Pile of Reading

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The book creates meaning, the meaning creates life

(Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text)

It is often difficult for me to get to events and launches so reading and chatting is how I try to stay connected to the literary scene. I’ve recently chatted to Nessa O’Mahony about her debut novel The Branchman and Nuala O’Connor on her feminist Becoming Belle.

I’ve just finished Sally Rooney’s Normal People which was long-listed for the Booker. Now I’m deep into John Boyne’s A Ladder to the Sky, enjoying recognizing streets in Berlin, Rome, Madrid. Next up is Milkman by Anna Burns (not pictured as it’s on my Kindle!) followed by the wonderful new collection from Doireann Ní Ghríofa Lies which launched yesterday (alongside Jessica Traynor’s The Quick – which I will shortly add to my pile). And then the moving memoir Twelve Thousand Days by Éilís Ní Dhuibhne.

What a choice. In these leafy Autumn days instead of writing days, it’s reading days. I may even light a fire.