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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thought for the Weekend - T. S. Elliot


As the coming weekend brings 2011 upon us, I figured this might be a good one to keep in mind for the year ahead.



'For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.'

- T.S. Eliot


May the words of 2011 be mighty!



Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Naming of 120socks


How to get over difficult obstacles - Just go for it! - 120 socks
(I hope this video link works)



video


As 2011 is approaching, I figured it is time to clear up this small mystery, as many people have asked how the name 120socks for the blog came to be.

The real credit for its creation has to go to the mad person in the green kayak, namely son of 120 socks.  So here is the story:

Having been away at a writers retreat, (see link on side bar) I was convinced by other crazy writing people in my company, that I should start a blog.
When a name was requested, I remembered how the previous week I had tidied my son's bedroom and in an effort to find a FLOOR, I had ended up picking up 120 odd socks. 

So being a person of limited imagination, 120 socks seemed as good a name as any!

Over time I have grown quite fond of it, so to the green kayak lunatic, I now say a big THANK YOU.  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thought for the Weekend - Winnie the Pooh at Christmas





'When late morning rolls around and you're feeling a bit out of sorts, don't worry; you're probably just a little eleven o'clockish.'


(A very intelligent quote from my favourite bear in the world) 


Have a very wonderful christmas everyone.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award


Open Submissions for manuscripts 
January 24th 2011 - February 6th 2011 



Amazon.com, along with Penguin Group (USA) and CreateSpace, is pleased to announce the fourth annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, the international competition seeking the next popular novel.

The competition will once again award two grand prizes: one for General Fiction and one for Young Adult Fiction. Each winner will receive a publishing contract with Penguin, which includes a $15,000 advance.

The Breakthrough Novel Award brings together talented writers, reviewers, and publishing experts to find and develop new voices in fiction. If you're an author with an unpublished or previously self-published novel waiting to be discovered, visit CreateSpace to sign up for regular contest updates.

See the official contest rules for more information on how to enter.

Inkwell Opening Chapters Competition - The Results

For all those that entered the Inkwell Opening Chapters Competition, see results below from Vanessa O Loughlin of Inkwell.



News of the Inkwell Opening Chapters Competition!
From our shortlist, a winner and runner up have been chosen by our judges Patricia Deevy, Editorial Director  with Penguin Ireland, and Ger Nichol of the Book Bureau. Both judges were delighted to read your entries and had a tough job selecting the winners from a truly mixed shortlist ....
And here they are:
  • Winner: 'Now or Never', Louise Hogan
  • Runner-up: 'The Sea Between Us', Carole Craig
The winner 'Now or Never' they felt had lots of potential, with writing that was fresh and direct, and they are both keen to see the full manuscript when it is ready. They agreed that Carole's story was crispy written with potential for a juicy historical tale with a bit of Pride and Prejudice style tension between the two main characters.
Huge congratulations to both Louise and Carole, and to the shortlisted writers!
And tips for any of you entering future competitions?
  • Think about who is judging a competition when you enter - think about what they might be looking for.
  • Follow the competition guidelines to the letter - number your pages, ensure your full contact information is available in case the judges need to get in touch with you - phone number/email and snail mail address. Some competitions disqualify entrants who have failed to enter according to the guidelines, don't let that be you!
  • Leave your entry for a few days before sending - it's amazing what that final read will reveal.
  • If you can enter a competition early, DO! If the judges are reading as entries arrive, you will catch them when they are fresh!
For everyone who entered, I will be going back over the competition entries with my scouting hat on - and I know there are a few of you who I will be in touch with...

Vanessa O Loughlin

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse & Winter Soltice at Newgrange

See below video link about Newgrange from National Geographic:


The Winter Solstice takes place in the northern hemisphere between the 19th and the 24th December and for the first time since 1638 this morning at Newgrange, the lunar eclipse and the winter solstice have coincided for a total eclipse.

The next time this is expected to happen will be 2094.  So as only a few of us will be around to mark the event, and in celebration of this wondrous representation of 'hope' , see link to pottershouse blog post:


I challenge us all to do something over the festive season that will create our own little bit of ' hope'.

Now I am not talking BIG like bringing about World Peace or anything like that!  And I know we all do our bit at this time of year, but maybe just something that a little extra thought might create.

It can be anything you want it to be, once it fits into the theme of 'hope'.
  It may be something that you want to share, and if you do, please post a comment with details or it may be something that only you will know.

  For all you blog enthusiasts out there, you can always do your own blog post about it.
Whatever you do, I hope you get something out of it as well.
 I'm off to have a good think.  Better than eating too many chocolates anyhow!

Have a wonderful Christmas!


  

Monday, December 20, 2010

Thought for the Week - Albert Camus

Quote for the weekend in disguise as quote for the week!

Have a good one.



'In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer'

 

- Albert Camus



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Poetry Bus Poem - Hidden Star

This week the poetry bus driver is Weaver of Grass, which, even as a name is pure inspiration.  Visit other poetry bus riders as they enjoy the great theme of 'Star' @ http://weaverofgrass.blogspot.com/
Have a great christmas everyone.





Hidden Star

In Jerusalem the wise men followed,
the promise of something new,  
and man on clear black night looks up,
illuminates, review,

The wisdom of the life we lead,
the vastness beyond our world,
a hope , a dream, a memory ,
tempts,

That we might catch,
and dance and feel,
this place, our earth, ourselves,
tiny flickers dazzling bright,

elusive star above,
within a child’s smile shines,
wrapping lonely man,
and you and I, and they and theirs,

can grasp and share,
for  in the travelling see,
the gift of life,
the vibrant star hidden inside of thee.

Armadale by Wilkie Collins - Book Club Review




At long last after the weeks of snow, Christmas mayhem and general interruptions of life, we have our book club reviews of ARMADALE, or Armawhale, or even The Whale as it became affectionately known.   For everyone, it seems to have been a journey that was well worth making, so really looking forward to next month's gem of 'In the Skin of the Lion' by Michael Ondaatje. 
See link @ the bottom of post for a flavour of what's to come.




 - A great meandering read, Armadale is the kind of book you can curl up on the couch with. Wilkie Collins is often overshadowed by his contemporaries which is a shame as he truly is the godfather of mystery writing.



 - Wilkie Collins portrayed his two principal male characters so well I
wonder if they were two sides of himself.  The two men, together his
superbly dysfunctional heroine Miss Gwilt, form a riveting triangle.
The story was so modern it was as if only the setting was Victorian. I
was reading psychiatrist John Bowlby's (1907-1991) Attachment Theory
at the same time.  He categorises three types of defensive strategies
that children develop as a result of insecure attachment to
parent/carer. Collins chararacters superbly illustrate all three.
They are Anxious or Ambivalent Attached (the tortured preoccupied
Midwinter); Avoidant Attached (the persistently positive Armadale) and
Disorganised Attached (the evil Gwilt). The last is a response to
consistently inadequate care - the individual may be unable to
maintain a consistent strategy for engaging in attachment.  This is
unforgettably illustrated by Miss Gwilt - particularly in her roller
coaster feelings for Midwinter.  It's so much more fun to read about
all this in a novel. 



 - At nearly 700 pages, Armadale is a whopper.  It demands your time and rewards you with such high entertainment that the pages flick over faster than you imagined possible.  Wilkie Collins is unique because he is a master of both plot and character.  Any author who unleashes his imagination the way Collins did when he devised this plot, deserves our everlasting respect. Never have I encountered so many twists and turns and been hooked right to the deadly end.  His characters will live and breathe with me for many a long day, most memorably the flame haired seductress,  Lydia Gwilt whose wickedness itself charms.  I defy anyone to read Armadale and not to love it.


-  Big enough to clean snow off your windscreen,  small enough to find a place in your heart.  This book is a bit of work to read, being at a different pace to the norm, yet you feel in the end as if it was possibly worth it.



- Armadale is an incredibly modern version of the Victorian novel. It is intricate, has brilliantly complex characters, and amazing set pieces. Lydia Gwilt is a particularly fascinating character. All in all it deserves to be far better known and is, for my money, a much better read than 'The Moonstone.'



 - A wonderful book to read, and one that seduces you into a world, that is both captivating through its exaggerated plot and intriguing characters, and delightful  by way of the utter sensationalism, that must have  given the writer, and the reader immeasurable pleasure in its day.  Despite its Victorian origin, it holds its own in the modern world, which is an indictment of the quality of the work, and the eternal longevity of a great story.



- Thank you Mr Collins - It's definitely 'The Woman in White' for Christmas. Wonderful to discover a writer of such extraordinary value that was hidden to me.  Had it not been for the recommendation of the book club, I could have missed out on an absolute gem!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Novel - Crime Scene


Due to popular demand, I am going to take time out from slogging away at the novel and give all 3 of you an update!

With my new found knowledge on Saturday night/Sunday morning, that I still had 9 more chapters to write, and time was running out, I did manage to move swiftly through the editing process on about 20 chapters by working myself to the bone from early morning Sunday right through to midnight.

I was one tired woman at the end of it all, but at least I could face into Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, with my plan in place to do 9 chapters, then write synopsis and sort out complete novel file on Thursday, leaving Friday for final review and printing.

So I wouldn't say that things were wonderful, but they weren't a disastrous either, that was until somewhere in my sleep, a major plot problem occurred to me, a problem that I could in time resolve, but it would require quite a lot of work, and with a tight schedule, that wasn't really going to be an option if I planned to have first draft done and dusted by the 17th.

Okay, what did I do? Well I did what all good lunatics who want to write a novel in 12 weeks do, I panicked.  I asked anyone that would listen to help advise me, safe in the knowledge that I would ignore whatever they said, because when you are in a panic, it seems to want to hold you there.  I made a couple of attempts at setting down a plan, but none of them worked.  I then did what all good lunatics with a sense of tidiness do, I gathered every piece of paper together with notes about the novel, including cinema tickets, the back of ATM receipts, the odd beer mat, not to mention all the non paper mountain on my mobile phone, laptop etc and I started marking off the points that I had already covered in a vain attempt to boost my confidence.  I took great pleasure in putting them all into the paper bin, after I had done a new listing of points still to be covered, and old items that need addressing. Lovely!

Well it was for about 5 minutes, until while looking at my tidy fictional desk, I realised that the problem with the plot was not removed, and would not be removed by clean sweeping my environment.

So, I panicked again.  Only this time there were tears, real ones, the kind of ones that go between sadness and anger, with a little bit of craziness fired in for good measure.  The world had ended, I was not going to achieve my goal, because the way I saw it, I had two choices.

Choice A - I could stop and decide that the best way forward was to go back and fix the yoke and miss my deadline.

Choice B - I could continue on until the end, not worrying about the flawed plot.

Both would appear rational, and to any ordinary lunatic, they would have been fine.  But you see, we ain't dealing with any ordinary lunatic, we are dealing with a 120 sock lunatic and they don't do rational well.

If I chose choice A, I would feel like a failure, because there is no one harder on 120 socks than 120 socks.

If I chose choice B, I would have lost that foolish belief that I am writing something with the potential to be wonderful, as known flaws would just destroy my socking enthusiasm.

So what did I do. Because giving up was not an option and writing 9 further flawed chapters, wasn't an option either, I stayed up until some ungodly hour of the morning, and made an attempt to rescue the flaw from utter stupidity to mildly acceptable, with the knowledge that one day I would return to it.

Well, it did the trick, I got back writing today and did 3 of the last 9 chapters, but I am now wrecked having only had about 4 hours sleep last night.  So an early night for me!!!

Tomorrow I will write my synopsis, having downloading a list of guidelines from the web, and carry on to the end.

In the meantime, I would value your thoughts, on the proposed title. 

It is a psychological crime novel, and I was thinking of -

'Stone Pillows'
(the meaning behind the name is revealed about two thirds through the book)

So what do you think? 

Right now any pillow will do me!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Launch not to be Missed! - From Bone to Blossom


From Bone to Blossom, an anthology of poetry & pen and ink drawings
 By Eileen Casey & Emma Barone.

The launch will take place at Birr Library on Saturday 18th December at 11 a.m.

The publication will be launched by Artist & Writer Rosalind Fanning.

Tea & Coffee will be served.

Everyone welcome. Free Admission.
RSVP to 057-9346800

Supported by Offaly Arts Council

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Poetry Bus Poem - Kaleidoscope

Poetry Bus Driver this week is the fabulous Titus who has given us great inspiration based on the theme of one's essence. 


You can see all the other bus riders at http://titusthedog.blogspot.com/






Kaleidoscope
Hand shapes creating shadows on the wall,
a child belief in something more,
books and stories,
a magic carpet ride,
my first sunrise,
the touch of the Atlantic on my toes,
Christmas lights,
Top of the pops,
Being free,
fire in my soul,
falling in love, madly,
tears for broken things,
mixed up love,
slices of time past,
silly dreams of a little girl,
fireflames,
snowstorms from the Milky Way,
the kaleidoscope of all the bits inside of me,

the ones that make me real,

the essence of me.

Quick Novel Review



Okay, so I am now at 96,000 words, having spent my entire Saturday editing all chapters relating to the murderer in my novel, and I have to say that at times, he was really starting to grow on me, which is brilliant considering I am usually so critical of my work.  I decided last night that despite knowing all the work that was ahead of me up to the 'Friday the 17th' deadline, that I would have to give myself and my head a rest.  I ignored this after watching an hour or so of the Xfactor non-final, and wrote another chapter, which I thought, well done to you 120 socks for going the extra mile.  I then looked at the outlay of my chapters to date and realised that I had to put in another chapter at that point from a character that I was holding out until the end.

I tried an exercise that I have done a couple of times over the last eleven weeks, which is to sit in front of a blank page with no idea whatsoever of what I was going to put on it.  But like before, I was pleasantly surprised, not that they were words of literary genius, no, because I haven't even reread them, for all I know they could be absolute junk, but even if they are, I found a solution to a problem that had been bothering me for days through the medium of this chapter's character.  Then I said, 120 socks, you have exhausted yourself, you have done so much more than even you expected of yourself, let it go, rest your brain cells.

But then, I thought, why don't I just write a brief outline of the concluding chapters, nothing intense just a couple of sentences on the page that will cover the plot line to conclusion.  It was then, at about midnight, that I discovered, that I have another 9 , yes 9 chapters to go to the end!!!!

So I woke up today, head wrecked, (no surprise there) and tried to work out how I was going to write 9 chapters in one day, or roughly (considering that some of the chapters will be short), about 9,000 words, so that for the next four days, I could edit the last remaining central character,and then edit all the concluding chapters, 2 from yesterday and the 9 not even done yet, and then do a synopsis etc etc.

Okay, so for all of you two people out there that want to know.  Today, because head is wrecked and being creative and being head wrecked don't go together well, I am going to edit my final central character, all 20 chapters of her.  She moves at a pace, so fingers crossed, so will I.  Then I am going to start my day on Monday, Tuesday &Wednesday, really early, and get said 9 chapters done.  From early on Thursday, I am going to write my synopsis, one that will grab even the most cynical of readers, edit my '9-11 end chapters', and then on Friday morning, get the darn thing printed.

Scary I know, but I have no choice!!! Who mentioned Christmas????

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thought for the Weekend - Japanese Proverb


I figured after the week that was, it might be good to hear something that might help us through the hard times!





'Fall seven times, stand up eight.'
~ Japanese proverb

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Conquering The Fear of Failure - Bit of Inspiraton!






Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.

William Shakespeare



Doggy Cool

Our Cooling Dog!
I guess we all need to cool down sometimes!   
(But he better not stay out on Christmas night!) 

See great poem below not written by yours truly,
especially for all you Santa's helpers out there that picked up a dog from one of Santa's Gift Shelters!







Christmas Returns


 Santa comes quietly long before dawn
While shops are still busy and lights are still on
While dinners are simmering and kitchens are warm
And children count presents they'll open by morn.

He slips past the trees and the windows aglow
Through the gate to the back yard as icy winds blow to find
the pup that he brought last year chained up in the snow and
kneeling he whispers, "Are you ready to go?"

There are too many stops like this one tonight
Before the beginning of his regular flight
He leaves not a note or a footprint in sight
Just an unbuckled collar on a cold Christmas night.

 ~ winner of the Maxwell Award

Monday, December 6, 2010

Novel Wordcount Celebration


90K words at long last!  Yippee!!!
Just another 10K to go!

Soundings for Simon

The Soundings Reading has now been postponed until the 13th December due to the weather conditions.


'Soundings for Simon' will take place on  Monday 6th of December at 7pm
Upstairs in the Bad Ass Café, Temple Bar, Dublin.

Some of Ireland's best poets will read their favourite poem from 'Soundings', say a few words on what it meant to them and then respond with some of their own work.
Tickets at the door €10. All proceeds will go towards the Simon Community.

Finger food and wine are free.
The line up is fantastic and will include:

Theo Dorgan
Mary O' Donnell
Maggie O' Dwyer
Padraig J Daly
Tom Conaty
Celia de Fréine

A great event and a great charity.  Not one to be missed!!!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Poetry Bus Poem - Rebellion

Poetry bus this week is being driven by Kat @ http://hyggedigter.blogspot.com/  And a mighty interesting challenge she has set for us all. 

The idea was to write something rhyming and humorous about our favourite pub or if not a pub, a restaurant.  Anyhow, I thought long and hard, and as with most good ideas, once you stop thinking too much, you find one! So here is the story and the  poem!!

Image from the mid fifties

One part of the house that we live in used to be a public house back in the late part of the 18th century, records go back as far as about 1750 (see image above from about sixty years ago).  Like all good things, it has survived the test of time, even if it isn't a public house anymore.

But back in 1803 when Robert Emmet led his failed Rebellion in Dublin, running from the authorities he and the rebels hid out in a glade near our house, and the following morning they visited the then public house because the owner William Kearney was a known supporter of the cause.  There is no doubt that part of the course of history would have been changed had it not been for the quick thinking of Mrs Kearney when the house was surrounded by Yeomen.

Robert Emmet

Anyway, here is said poem!


Rebellion
They lay in the glen those men in their green,
hoping to God that they wouldn’t be seen.
The moon in the heavens looked down on the night,
as chilled from the air, they wrapped up out of sight.

In morn they arose, refreshed anew,
And wanted to taste some parliamentarian brew.
Kearney a rebel from ‘98,
Opened his door, and bid them to haste.

Emmet and Devlin quietly they spoke,
in secret tones of true rebel folk.
But then Robinson a constable came in for some beer,
From him, the strangers had something to fear.

Had it not been for Kearney he’d have given up his life,
As the men with their blunderbusses had some might.
But still on their tracks was the enemy Robert Shaw,
who wanted his glory for killing an outlaw.

Whilst hid in the loft of the small walled house,
They kept an eye out, huddled as quiet as a mouse.
Across the valley from their hideout they saw,
Ten score men and more, wanting them by the law.

The wife of Kearney she was real quick,
Scared the yeomen off without a stick.
For she gave them a yarn that saved the day,
Leaving Arthur Devlin with the last word to say.

'My blunderbuss was loaded, ready good and fair,
Shaw was lucky his family wasn’t made barren of heir'.
Away the brave men parted from their upper mountain glade,
To find other hideouts and seek some more aid.

Before the men left, Emmet gave Kearney his coat,
In thanks for what he had done, to help him the most.
No sooner did the rebels leave the public house for the day,
But Mrs Kearney piped up ‘no bloody way’.

It was she after all, who'd saved the men where they laid,
And a rebel’s coat, was the high price to be paid.
The lady she looked very spiff in her green,
But sadly of course, she could never be seen!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thought for the Weekend - Phyllis Diller

Early hours!


Okay someone finally ate the Marshmallow, and did their best on the cars last night as well!!


Sun on its way!


So in continence of the snow and anti-housework theme for the coming weekend, here is a quote from someone that you youngsters out these will not remember - Phyllis Diller!!!!




'Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing'  -

Phyllis Diller

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Food for Thought




Anyone for a snow marshmallow? 

(we won't be having coffee at this table anytime soon with more snow forecast!)
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