Monday, January 24, 2011

Seapoint Literary Supper

This is a bit of a shameless plug but I think it's an event some of you might be interested in. Dubray Bookshops and Seapoint restaurant in Monkstown - home of amazing seafood and their legendary rosemary and parmesan fries - have started a literary supper evening on the first Thursday of every month.

The idea is simple. For €28 you get to enjoy a 3 course meal, a glass of wine and a reading and Q&A session with an Irish author, who, on Thursday 3rd February, happens to be yours truly.

Spaces are limited (genuinely so, as you can see in the photo the room is lovely but not very big) so if you're interested call Seapoint on 663 8480 to book your place.

Kick off on the night is 7:30 and as well as reading from The Other Boy (which is out in paperback that day) I'll also be doing my first reading from my new novel What Might Have Been Me.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saying goodbye

I went to a funeral last Thursday, a funeral of someone I’d never met, someone I didn’t know. Only now, sitting down to write about it, I feel like I knew her very well.

She was the mother of a friend of mine. The kind of friend who you can have a great laugh with and a great conversation with, a friend I don’t see every week, or even every month, but whenever I spend time with him, I vow to see him more often.

We met a few years ago, when I was going through a tough time in my life, a time, it would turn out, that would mark the start of a period of great change for me. We shared a small office and the same sense of humour and a liking for chocolate muffins. But mostly what we shared was a passion for music. There wasn’t much in the office but there was an old CD player - 1990s ghetto blaster style - and we took to taking turns hijacking it every day, sharing our soundtracks with each other. And somewhere between Pink Floyd and Arcade Fire, we became friends.

Today, I heard his mother’s soundtrack; Mama Cass and Mozart and of course Bob Dylan. She was a young woman and her illness had been brief, barely eight short weeks between the day she saw the first signs of it and the day at St Jerome where we all stood shoulder to shoulder waving her goodbye. But she was an organised woman, with a plan in an envelope of what she wanted. And it was this plan that her two boys – two men – bravely brought to life with no celebrant, no middle man, only this rich tapestry of words and music. Without the framework of the familiar, the rhythm of rituals, there was a purity, a simplicity to it all. The sound of a life well lived, of a soul, singing goodbye.

And as I stood there, listening to her voice rise and fall in the chapel, the clear pitch of each note as she sang “The Moon and St Christopher”, I felt as if I had known her, this woman who touched so many. And I wished I had. And it made me want to work harder – so much harder – at really getting to know the people around me, and most of all, to really get to know myself.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Getting re-started

What is it about re-starting something, that makes it so hard?

I think the answer is somewhere in that little ‘re.’ Re-starting is just like starting, but without that energy and excitement you had the first time around. There’s usually a reason that you’ve stopped doing whatever you were doing and you know the effort that’ll be involved to get going again. You know the pitfalls along the way, because you’ve fallen in and peeped out from inside.

This week for me – like a lot of you, I suspect – has been a week of re-starts. Starting back at work, yoga, running, blogging, even though these are all things I enjoy, they’ve been surprisingly hard to get back into after only a couple of week’s break. And so, I decided, to get the re-starting started, I’d go easy on myself this week, instead of raising that bar, or even keeping it level, for once I’d bring it down a little notch.

And, at the end of the first week of 2011, I’m happy to say, my underachieving approach has worked pretty well. You could even say, it’s beaten my expectations.

My first run wasn’t quite as early as usual, or as long. A simple twenty minutes, rather than thirty was the carrot to get me out there and, encouraged by the fact that I could walk pain free the next day, I got the second run of 2011 in as well. Rather than go for the advanced yoga class I opted for an easier one – no inversions here! – and lying on my mat at the end of an hour and a quarter, my out-of-practice body felt the ache of effort and accomplishment that I normally feel after an intense two day workshop. Good thing I’ve saved that particular treat for next weekend then...

And, as for the blog, my deal to myself was this: I just had to blog by the end of this week. It didn’t have to be the best blog post ever, the funniest or the most entertaining or insightful. It just had to be readable and a bit interesting. A low-ish bar that I hope I’ve met, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

I promise to raise it for the next one!