Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Euros 2016 Summer memories

I haven't been blogging a lot this year.   It's been a roller-coaster year, full of change.  
Wishing everyone a peaceful Christmas and a 2017 full of joy, health and hope! A little piece below which I wrote about the Euro 16 Soccer championships.

Summer 2016 memories.
Sometimes, the sun shines and we get to escape our lives,
slide away from the grind – the chock a block M50,
the commuter trips on fogged up trains, clocking in and out. We get a chance to mentally check out from the day to day, the 24/7, the 365 rush, rush, rinse and repeat.
We pack vans and cars and smile like we did on school holiday summer mornings
and pretend in a good light that we are all twenty two again and life is full of
promise and fresh dawns and an anything is possible mood washes over us.
We say goodbye to the factories, the offices, the identikit houses on cul de sacs,
built in fields in towns many miles away from where we were born.
We flee from jobs that numb the brain, that eat away at us and we cope because we can hear our parents' voices in our heads,
Do it to put food on the table”,
to get the kids the Communion dresses, the bouncy castles, the high heeled
debs shoes for girls, who in our minds are still making sandcastles with us
on grey green Irish summer days.
And this time we get lucky and Ireland make a tournament. We meet up and scrape the Euros together.
Hire vans and pack them up and find ourselves in a warm city, wearing green jerseys and eating food we wouldn't eat at home and admitting to no-one that we actually enjoy it.
And we enter that stadium. And the Irish soccer team run through the tunnel. And we roar until we are hoarse. For ninety minutes, we forget about the factories, the pinging of work emails trapped Aladdin- like in our phones. We banish the memories of the overdue bills and we become a tribe.
People think that the best part is when the ball is in the back of the net, the 'Oh my God', we cannot believe our own eyes, Ireland have scored and we are through to the next round.
It's not all for the glory - the cups, the medals, the crowd shouting in one voice and singing 'The Fields of Athenry', until no-one has a dry eye and everyone pretends it's a hay fever outbreak. The most important part is the moment before the roar.
That moment where an Irish foot connects to the ball. The sound of the leather. The ball cutting through the air. The swish as it hits the net. The silence. The hush before the crowd roars.
The second when the air is full of hope and everything difficult in life is forgotten about and filed away to think about some other day.
All of life's hopes are stored in an intake of breath, rare and priceless,
and found in the strangest places, even on a football pitch, in France, in the summer of

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Good Father - Axis, Ballymun.

I had flu in early February, ran a high temperature and had a dream that a lovely nurse type lady came to watch over me.     Unfortunately, she disappeared when my temperature dropped to normal levels.
But I decided to write her into a short story and found the name, Lololi, for her, which is a West African name, meaning, there is always love.

I wrote the story, like I write most of my stuff, for myself mainly, but while browsing writing.ie, I saw that the Axis Theatre in Ballymun, was running a Northside Love Stories competition, where the ten winning entries are read before each showing of 'The Good Father' production.

So I was delighted to be chosen as the opening night winner and was given four tickets and an invitation to the opening night after show party.  I've also won a workshop with Colm Keegan, so I'm looking forward to that.

The Good Father was written by Christian O'Reilly and directed by Mark O'Brien.   The two actors are Emmet Kirwan and Nyree Yergainharsian.
I would highly recommend this play to everyone.   It is fast paced, witty and refreshing to see contemporary Ireland reflected back to us.   It was also interesting to see the old Irish male stereotype of fatherhood completely overhauled especially in the world we live in where Irish fathers have become much more involved in the raising of our children.    
Christian O'Reilly is a skillful writer.   I spent a lot of time thinking, I wish I'd written that line, but gave up after a while because it was all just so well written.   The writing was true to that natural Dublin instinct to apply humour to every situation life throws at you, regardless of how tough.  The actors were excellent.  It almost felt like you were eavesdropping on a couple's private conversation.  It was a very pared down set which let the writing and the acting shine through.   Emmet Kirwan has a really natural musical rhythm to his voice and surely is an actor to watch for in the future.  
Nyree Yergainharsian was terrific too, a really heartfelt performance.

My piece, Lololi, was read by Catherine Rutter, so huge thanks to her for reading it so well.   If you would like to listen to it, it is on youtube here

The Good Father is running until 21st March and tickets are available here 

Huge thanks to Niamh and everyone at the Axis Theatre for making our night such a great one.  Drama is alive and well and thriving in Northside Dublin.  Long may it continue.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Star signs for Writers

The lovely and dynamic Vanessa over at writing.ie has published my (for fun) Star Signs for Writers piece.
You can read it here

Check out writing.ie for a wealth of writing information, it really is a site well worth keeping an eye on.

Happy New Year to All!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Boyne Berries 12 - launch

 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.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

RTE Arena Flash Fiction Challenge - The Results

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.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Novelicious Undiscovered Showcase - 'The Irish Poet'

If you have a few minutes to spare today, check out my first chapter entry  
'The Irish Poet'   
on the Novelicious website.   You can read it here

It is one of twenty entries in the Novelicious Undiscovered Competition.
This is my first venture into writing popular fiction, so I hope it reads o.k.

The Irish Poet character is purely fictional (sorry, ladies) and is not based on any Irish Poets I have met (not that I have met many) so far in my writing journey. 

So enjoy! (fingers crossed!) 

Voting for your favourite entry is on June 5th.

Big thanks to everyone who promoted me on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Writing News

Talented Irish writer, Alison Wells, is launching her novel 'Housewife with a Half-Life' today.
A great title and book cover! Check out her blog here for details.
Wishing her great success with it!

Some little bits of new from myself:

My first chapter from 'The Irish Poet' will be featured on the Novelicious blog this week on Thursday 10th May. if you fancy a read, comments are welcomed.

Voting for your favourite entry is on June 5th, I will post the link closer to the date if anyone wishes to vote, thanks.

My short story 'Message in a Powers bottle' was included on the longlist for the Irish Times Powers Short Story Competition at the weekend.
The link is here if you have a few minutes to spare and wish to have a read of it.
Best of luck to all the other short story writers who were featured !!