Monthly Archives: April 2013

What we have done, and what we have failed to do….

Yesterday, while in the nursery, my son lifted up a tub of Vaseline and with enormous care and concentration, lifted it up over his head and threw it over the side of the table. His attitude seemed just like an Aztec priest, about to make a sacrifice.

“Nappy rash…. be gone!”

It made me think for a moment that the two actions, appalling sacrifice versus the throwaway gesture of a child, were both equal of respect, certainly in terms of gestures of civilisation.

But that’s my privilege,  as a woman in a 21st century culture. I get to look back on other civilisations and dismiss their concerns as nothing more important than an after-taste of history. Those Aztecs, how bemusing. There’s plenty in my own culture that could lead to horrified gasps in the future. I won’t list them all, there’s far too much hand wringing on the Internet already. Suffice to say, I reject elements of the past, and no doubt the future will do the same to me.

And as I look at my sleeping son, I wonder what sins will he take issue with? Only time will tell.

“You call this coffee?”

Waiting for Criticism

A few trusted friends and wise writers have the novella. I’m as nervous as glass shards. The worst part is the internal dialogue I have while waiting for any response from folks. I conscious that my ego, my low minded greedy-for-praise ego wants to be told it’s only marvelous. I’m also very much aware that there are huge flaws in the work. I am trying to brace myself to hear about these.

Some of it is good. Some of it is outrageously brave. Some of it is juvenile trash. What do I think is going to happen? That my phone will ring, and in true Hanna-Barbera fashion, a hand will reach down the phone line and slap me across the face?

Illustration of a cartoon happy mobile phone character doing welcoming sign Stock Photo - 15032025

“It’s for you! Aaand…you’re crap!”

This is the best and the worst part of all this, the reality check that comes with it. I live in my head nearly 100% of the time (where else could I live, when you think about it), so asking for uninterrupted input is hard. But no one made me write the thing. I’ve only myself to blame.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday Write In #35

cheesy  ::  breathless  ::   carbon copy  ::  jets  ::  shaving

Cheesy toast. That’s what she wanted right now, cheesy toast. With too much butter, on white bread, with the cheese all bubbling and hot. That, and a mug of hot chocolate, and a hobnob, and she’d be set for life. The thought of it left her breathless. Why was she stuck in this meeting, with a topic that was a carbon copy of all the other meetings, with no air and just warm blather making her want to fall asleep?

She sat up, made herself pay attention. The deficit reductions in the fourth quarter would affect families to the extent that……. Oh, booorring! How could she make herself care about all this? The self help book she was reading has suggested associating pain with your failure and pleasure with your work, but honestly she just didn’t care any more. The boss, with his overly perfect hair cut was listening and nodding, but she thought he might just be asleep with his eyes open. It must be so boring after all those jets to the White house…

Suddenly there was a thump from the end of the table. Everyone turned to the bearded weirdo at the end.  “Damn it!” he cried, looking at his phone. “They’ve rejected Croke Park!”

A collective groan rose from them all, and the file of suits sank a little further. She herself slumped in despair. With all the shaving off she was doing of her expenses, she was done to her last hundred thousand euro in savings. She felt despair sink around her, as her dream of cheesy toast drifted further, and further, and further away…

Bit of news…

Remember Kytelers Inn? The rather lovely tavern in Kilkenny where Alice Kyteler lived? Well, I had a bit of a brain wave. Would they like me to do readings of The Stone during the summer? They said they would! So yesterday myself, Himself and the little man made our way down to the Marble city to have a chat and see about details.

Down to the home town. Where everyone drives really well…

They really did like the idea. While I was thinking of doing a reading once a month, they were thinking once every two weeks, especially during the summer season (we have the Cat’s Laughs in May, Arts Week in August and lots in between).

The plan is to have readings from the book, the history of the town and of Alice herself, discussion of the musical and maybe some talk about other versions of the story (handily, that’s what my Masters was about). I know myself I could easily talk for an hour on this, and throwing in the readings will make the time fly. I’m just worried that this is a lot of travel to organise. Also, that’s the summer booked, really; I’ll have not much in the way of free time. Hmm. What do you all think?

Because this is what a summer in Ireland is like. Yes, it is.

Wednesday Write In #34

Prompts: Sinister, Seoul, minty-fresh, Add to Cart, Gold.

There was a dead spider in the hall. It disturbed her, even when it shouldn’t; the overturned belly was helpless, powerless. Still, it’s form made her lip curl with unease, she hated the very form of it. It was huge, about the size of a fifty cent piece. How long had it been living around her, hidden away in the corners?

Her husband called her into the kitchen again. He wasn’t happy. When was he happy? She stood there in front of him, while the words continued. She drifted off to her own world, her hands empty and swinging while the voice went on. This time it was about the brand of toothpaste he wanted. She would have to get on to the Tesco site again, get the right one, with the minty-fresh flavour. She wasn’t paying attention, was she paying attention? Seriously, was she even awake in there?

So, was the spider dead from old age, or from something else? They’d had rain, lots of it, just last night. Maybe it had crept in all wet and dying, trying to take shelter while it breathed its last, until it died in the hall all alone. Did spiders feel sad? She didn’t think they did. But she didn’t know anything.

He seemed done. “Are you listening? Are you?!” his eyes were wide, silence finally happening. She answered as breezily as she could.

“Of course I am!” A big smile, shoulders dropped, all calm and good. All good.

He shook his head at her. “I’m going to work.” He stood up, and he left. Oh hurrah, he left. Finally she was free, the house empty of his voice for a few hours. Okay. She watched from the sitting room as his car pulled away, and felt herself finally breath out.

But first, toothpaste. She sat herself down at the computer, and clicked onto the shopping website. Add to cart. Pay. Do you want to collect your gold vouchers. Done.

She looked over to the spider again from her seat. Didn’t some spiders kill their mates? What did they do with them once they were gone? How did they explain it, make it all smooth and calm again?

The spider’s body was still in the hall, and she sat there, looking at it.

And in her mind, a plan began to form…

Wednesday Write In #33

Wednesday write cake short and sweet prompts; chloroform  ::  banana split  ::  stench  ::  cracker  ::  shoestring budget


“What, you get a girlfriend? Do they give out cloroform in college now?”

“You can’t talk, can ya, you’d go out with anyone who bought you a banana split.”

“No I wouldn’t, shut up!”

“I will not, it’s true, you’ve just a kid.”

“I am not!”

“Ya are, you still like Michael Jackson!”

“Thriller is a good record!”

“Yeah if you’re twelve. Real girls like the Cure, or the Smiths or something. Wait till you’re old enough to go to a real disco, then tell me you’re a grown up.”

Silence fell between them, sitting in the back seat of the car while they waited for their Dad. He was always taking ages, when he got talking to the newsagent he could loose all track of time.

“God I wish he’d hurry up. Put the radio on.”

She didn’t argue with him, she wanted to hear music too. She leaned forward and put on the local radio. Country music blasted out at them, and he gave out a yell.

“Ah give me a break, change it!”

She was already swinging the dial towards the 92 number, and Gerry Ryan’s voice started out.  She sat back into the seat again and they sat in silence.

Slowly, with appalling surety, it moved towards her, creeping closer with each second. Her face frowned as it finally reached her, and she started to cough as the full stench hit her.

“Oh dear God, that’s disgusting!”

He gave out a laugh as she despairingly tried to roll down the window, the broken handle refusing to work.

“Oh that’s a cracker!” he said, laughing at her face, until he finally just smiled at himself.

“What the hell were you eating?”

“Its called pot noodle, you’ll have some too when you get to college.”


“When. And you’ll eat lots of it, not easy to get to eat on a shoestring budget.”

“Sounds awful.”

“Yeah…” He shifted uneasily in his seat. “Where is Dad, he’s gone ages. I need to pee!”

“Mum will be mad, dinner will be ruined.”

“I know. Ah here, I’ll go get him!”

“Bring us back some sweets!”

“I will not, you’ll get fat!”

“I am not fat!”

“Yeah, you’re not.”

“I am not!”

“Stop shouting, people will think that you’re a child!”

“Well stop saying I’m fat then!”

“Alright, alright, you’re not fat! Just let me go get Dad!”


“Fine. Jesus!”

“You’re not allowed swear! I’m telling Mum!”

“Ah here!” Irritated now, he got out of the car and slammed the car door, leaving her there waiting for both of them. She couldn’t believe she had to have him as a brother. She would be all grown up if not for him making her so mad all the time. Stupid brother. Big, stupid brother.

Nice to have him home, though. She looked through the glass, waiting with hope that both of them would be back soon.