This is how it goes.
At noon, my boss, Quentin Parker-Jones (with a couple of Roman Numerals) takes off his tie. He stands up, undoes the top button of his shirt, pounds his chest and makes a Tarzan sound.
Up pops the head of Larry Johnson, (Head of Accounting and all things fiscal), from behind his partition. He too, pounds his chest. For added drama, he draws back an imaginary bow and aims it past the water-cooler. Up pops the head of Arthur Pendleton (Graphic Design). His artistic role is indicated by his paisley ties and purple trousers. He pretends to be wounded by the imaginary arrow, guffaws and steps towards his lunch buddies. They join forces, march towards the lift, their footsteps combine and make a thud not unlike the T Rex in the Jurassic Park movie. The water in the water-cooler wobbles.
Me? I sneak into my boss's office. I close the door. I breathe deeply, robe myself in pink wool. Then, I drink vodka.... neat. It's the only way.
A Magpie Tales writing prompt. I haven't written one in ages, but couldn't resist this great picture.
My ability to comment on peoples blogs is limited, so apologies in advance if I don't comment on other Magpie Tales.
It's the first week back in school for a new term this week.
My son has an Irish test this morning.
We arrived at the school in my car, both of us staring blankly out the window, in that quiet moment before the day starts.
I try to motivate him for his day.
He is just focusing on the test. I point out the winter wonderland of frozen spiderwebs and frosty trees, in a poetic monologue.
He's not in the mood for poetry.
I try the scientific route. It normally works.
"Pretend you're an Artic explorer and you have to navigate your way up to the school"
He emerges from the car.
He's giving me the 'mad mother' look.
He's still thinking about the Irish test.
"Pretend you're an Artic explorer and you have to navigate your way up to the school and the only language that the natives speak is Irish and you know it off by heart...."
Son walks away.
"It's not even ice. It's only frost.", he says.
Ah well, I tried.
Happy 2013 to you all. I hope it brings health and happiness.
I haven't been blogging lately. I appear to have 'googleitits', a condition where it makes me unable to enter comments on people's blogs.
I have been writing however and one of my film scripts made it to the second round of a BBC drama commissioning process, so I was gently encouraged by that. Only 16% of the scripts entered made it that far, so I will try and focus on that piece of positivity.
I am currently working on a new screenplay, a contemporary Irish drama called 'No Known Relatives'.
Mostly, writing for me lately feels a bit unrewarding. I'm concentrating on keeping motivated to persevere with it.
What do you hope for in 2013?
Wishing you luck achieving your goals and here is a link to 2013 horoscopes.
You know you want to!!
photo of Professor Gregory Castle, who is launching the publication.
I'm delighted that my prose piece 'Farewell Quaintsville', is to be included in 'Boyne Berries 12', which is being launched by the Boyne
Writers Group on Thursday 27 September at 8pm in
the Castle Arch Hotel, Trim. It's a short piece about a twenty something girl with attitude, determined to shake off the Midlands town she has grown up in.
More details about the event and how to order a copy of the magazine can be found on Michael Farry's blog. The Boyne Berries Writers group are a prolific group and one of the lovely events they hold regularly is poetry readings for residents in St Joseph’s and
Knightsbridge Homes in Trim.
I am going to try and overcome my midweek logistics to get to the event, fingers crossed. If not, I wish Michael Farry and the Boyne Writers Group a great evening.
"The sixty or so pages of the magazine contain a wealth of prose and
poetry from local and international writers on a wide variety of topics.
A quick glance at the titles gives a flavour of the contents: Farewell
Quaintsville, The Magi, Lenny – The Dog that Could Lick your Mind,
Kings and Queens of Yard Sales, Crossing the Border, A Memory of Facial
Hair, Piracy, 1980’s Style, Nothing’s as Simple as it Seems.
There are many gems in the issue including the egg-shaped poem, At the Cold Buffet by Kate Dempsey, three poignant poems which deal with the problems associated with old age; Clare McCotter’s Early Dementia; Susan Kelly’s Room 41; Her True Colours by Honor Duff; Louis Moran’s family saga Nothing’s as Simple as it Seems; and Maeve O’Sullivan’s topical White Star dealing with the Titanic disaster, the centenary of which is being marked this year.
This issue will be launched by Professor Gregory Castle
of the Department of English, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.
Professor Castle (pictured above) teaches courses in British and Irish
literature, modernism, postcolonial studies, and literary and critical
theory. He is the author of a number of books including Modernism and
the Celtic Revival (2001) and The Blackwell Guide to Literary Theory
(2007). He has had poems published in previous issues of Boyne Berries.
Local writers are well represented. Tommy Murray’s poem, Friendly Fire, is a caustic look at the abuse of language in modern warfare, and Orla Fay writes about Leaving Oz. Lesley Carty writes about Lagore Crannóg and Adrienne Leavy about Blackrock Golf Club Revisited.
Many of the contributors will attend and read their work at the launch. Admission is free and all are welcome."
Congratulations to Michael Farry and the Boyne Writers Group and big thanks for including my piece.
I have just finished reading Louise Phillip's debut novel, 'Red Ribbons', a psychological crime fiction novel.
I first came across Louise while writing pieces in Magpie writing prompts, when her blog was called '120 Socks'. Some of you may remember her pieces then. Even when reading some of her Magpie pieces, it was obvious that Louise was a writer of considerable talent and that it would only be time before her novels would start appearing on our bookshop shelves.
Louise's debut novel was launched in Dublin this week at one of the biggest book launches seen in recent years.
I would highly recommend her book. It is gripping, tense and atmospheric and Louise has such a keen eye for detail, that she brings all the characters and locations in the book totally to life for the reader.
I found it really difficult to put this book down (my house and writing have suffered this week as a result), as the pace is really fast and as it switches from character to character, the novel moves along really swiftly. I found myself holding my breath reading certain sections of the book and my night-time locking up routine in my house has become a little more obsessive, since reading this great book.
Louise is a highly perceptive writer. She delves into the minds of her characters and their stories are compelling and convincing.
I particularly loved the character of 'Ellie' a mother institutionalised fifteen years earlier for the murder of her daughter, Amy. Louise's writing totally captured the sense of the isolated, the forgotten, the institutionalised. When Ellie wakes one morning, she watches the sunlight repeat the same pattern on the walls of her room that is has done for every morning of her incarceration.
"But I am not out in the real world, and I have little desire for its teasing"
- just one small example of Louise's perceptive writing.
Louise applies this perceptive skill to all her characters - the criminal psychologist, Kate Pearson, struggling to balance her career and her home life, the doctor who is caring for Ellie, the detectives, even the killer himself. Louise manages to invade the mindset of the killer so well that I found myself occasionally feeling empathy for him, no mean feat!.
There is some beautiful descriptive writing in this book, The landscape of Wicklow is brought to life in Louise's words and that combination of the beauty and bleakness of the countryside is described so eloquently by Louise.
So if you fancy a great read, a real page turner and a chance to read some beautiful writing by an exciting and talented debut novelist, I would highly recommend 'Red Ribbons'.
Details of where to buy it are on Louise's site.
If you are in Ireland, please go to a bookshop to purchase it as Amazon sales aren't counted in the Irish Book charts and it would be great for Louise to make next week's book charts.
Louise is working on her next novel,"The Dolls House", due out next year and I will definitely be one of the first to buy it.
Congratulations, Louise, pour yourself a glass of champagne and revel in your success!
About the Author:
Louise Phillips returned to writing after a 20 year gap spent raising her family, managing a successful family business, and working in banking. Quickly selected by Dermot Bolger as an emerging talent, Louise went on to win the 2009 Jonathan Swift Award and in 2011 she was a winner in the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice Platform, as well as being short-listed for Bridport UK Prize, the Molly Keane Memorial Award, and the RTÉ Guide/Penguin Short Story Competition. In 2012 Louise was awarded an Arts bursary for literature from South County Dublin Arts. Other publishing credits include many literary journals and anthologies, including New Island’s County Lines. Louise's psychological crime novel, Red Ribbons, is published by Hachette Books Ireland, and her second novel, The Doll's House will be published in 2013.
THE SERIAL KILLER
A missing schoolgirl is found buried in the Dublin Mountains, hands clasped together in prayer, two red ribbons in her hair. Twenty-four hours later, a second schoolgirl is found in a shallow grave – her body identically arranged. The hurt for the killer is on.
THE CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGIST
The police call in criminal psychologist, Kate Pearson, to get inside the mind of the murderer before he strikes again. But the more Kate discovers about the killings, the more it all feels terrifyingly familiar.
THE ACCUSED WOMAN
As the pressure to find the killer intensifies there's one vital connection to be made – Ellie Brady, a woman institutionalised fifteen years earlier for the murder of her daughter Amy. She stopped talking when everybody stopped listening.
The RTE Radio 1 Arena Flash Fiction Challenge winners 2012 were announced last night.
The overall winner was Kerrie O'Brien, the details are listed here
My piece 'You talkin' to me?' was listed in the 'Special Mentions'. It's a piece about a small time Dublin criminal who has a Robert de Niro fixation.
Congratulations to everyone on the lists!
Dave Lordan was the judge and read an extract from my piece on the show on RTE Radio 1 on the 24th April when the competition was still open. It can be heard here about 7 minutes in, starts with 'Matthew...'.
I may extend my story and work on it a bit and try and find a new home for it.