Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Top Ten Hits - August 2011

I can't believe it's the end of the month!  Where did August go to?  Where did the summer go to?  But no matter how quickly August went in, it was helped by all 6,446 hits on the blog for August 2011 - so a big THANK YOU for visiting!

Just like last month, there are a couple of surprises as to which posts made the top ten - enjoy!

Number 1 - Twists of Twitter HERE

Number 2 - When you were Small - The Teacher HERE

Number 3 - Soul Sharing - Prose HERE

Number 4 - The Voice - Poem HERE

Number 5 - Guest Post with Krystal Wade - Ode To The Toilet! HERE

Number 6 - Before I Go To Sleep - Book Club Choice HERE

Number 7 - Flash Fiction - Role Play HERE

Number 8 - Thought for the Weekend - When I Am Gone HERE

Number 9 - What I know about Twitter Lists HERE

Number 10 - The Glor Sessions HERE

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

When you were small - Imaginary Friends

I've just received a copy of Derbhile Dromey's novel 'The Pink Cage' by post this morning and I'm really looking forward to reading it.  On the cover is a young girl, probably about 3 or 4 years old.  She is walking along a wide expanse of what I think is concrete with line markings on it.  To her left is her shadow, and being a soul with an expansive but often crazy imagination, I can see a whole imaginary and scary world within this shadow.  The lines intrigued me too.  I remembered being a kid and how when I walked to school, I made a point of never walking on a crack or line marking on either the footpath or the road.   Sometimes this meant taking little steps, sometimes is meant stretching your legs so far apart they hurt.  I had this thing about cracks, it was all about how they might trap me into another world if I fell through them.

Now you might be thinking this is leading nicely into the title of imaginary friends, except for the fact that even though I had plenty of imaginary worlds, I never did have an imaginary friend.  This surprises me greatly.  You would think me being me, that an imaginary friend would have been a must, but alas not in my case.  However my children did have them, in fact my son had an entire imaginary football team which managed to keep him very busy!

So did you have an imaginary friend, or friends?  Did you do daft things like me and stretch your legs way further than they should be stretched just to avoid an innocent crack?   

I always love to hear your stories, so please do share them if you wish, and yes, I am still a bit cracked!

For other posts from the
'When you were small' series, visit HERE

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Wild Heather is a blazing!

We went walking up the mountain yesterday morning, myself, hubby and our faithful dog Benson.  The rain came bucketing down on our way back, but in the typical 'four seasons in one day' which we often have in Ireland, the sun was out for most of our adventure, and with it came the beautiful colours from the landscape,especially the heathers - Enjoy!

And then the path narrows!

And you then meet the dark, mysterious mix of colour beneath the high trees!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Twists of Twitter -

A Twitter Journey -


A. You hear about other people using Twitter - and you say thanks but no thanks.

B. Then serious programmes on the telly start to say things like - you can tweet us @XXXX - you wonder what is wrong with text and email - why are these things not enough?

C. People like Susan Boyle become an overnight success because Demi Moore sends out a tweet and her Xfactor audition has so many downloads the system nearly crashes - you begin to ask  yourself it there more to this tweeting than you might have thought.

D. All the kids start doing it - a sure sign that something is afoot - then political programmes like Tonight with Vincent Browne has a special section just on tweets and twitter.

E. You think about facebook and blogging and email, worrying about how much more time Twitter will take up, but already you are hooked because after all, wondering about something is the first step to crossing the line.

F. You continue to resist - think about setting up an anti-twitter campaign - you know you hate being one of a crowd and there is all this jargon about followers - as if this Twitter thing could be the beginning of a commune - who is following who and why?

G. Then you decide definitely, it is not for you.

H. Someone then says - 'It's all very well you blogging, but tweeting is where it is at - if you are not on Twitter, well you are simply not on.'

I. You decide to give it a go - after all what can be the harm of it.

J. Registered-you think long and hard about your first tweet - you want to put your best foot/tweet forward.

K. You send out a deep and meaningful quote conscious that someone you do not know could read it and have a life changing experience.

L. No one notices - so you wait and wait - nothing happens.

M. You decide to give up, become one of the millions who has treaded this path before and dismissed the idea.

N. Then you get a follower, you are not really sure how or why but you start thinking about it again - you send out another tweet.

O. You contact everyone you know to see if they are on Twitter - you follow them.

P. You send out bulk emails to all the people in your email address book, your followers increase.

Q. Every morning you wonder, do I have another follower?

R. You discover tweeting is all about mentions and RT's - and thanking people - because thanking people does more than just say thanks, it spreads the word.

S. Your tweets increase, you start to make 'friends' on Twitter, you have personal conversations with pictures which might not even be of those you are tweeting with.

T. You decide that your children should NOT tweet - after all what if that nice granny turns out to be an axe murderer.

U. Then you dig deeper because suddenly you are up and really running, you follow @stranger @interesting picture @newslink @thingstodoinyourcity.

V. You tell all your friends about how great Twitter is - raise your eyebrows in surprise when someone is not on it and say, 'It's all very well you blogging, but tweeting is where it is at - if you are not on Twitter, well you are simply not on.'

W. You give tutorials on your blog about 'Lists' because so many people don't understand them.

X. You start getting up extra early so that you can send out your #FF - follow fridays.

Y. Then start wondering about doing a blog post about controlling your time on twitter.

Z.  You stop talking to your actual friends because well this tweeting is important stuff.

ZZ. You stop and think - decide to ease up a bit.

ZZZ. Your followers are not increasing the way they did before, you think about how you liked all those gold star stickers at school.

ZZZZ. You set up autotweets - saves time - makes sense.

ZZZZZ.  By now you have everyone in lists - but your list of blog pals is so long you rarely get to visit @stranger @interesting picture @newslink @thingstodoinyourcity.

ZZZZZZ. Your son tells you -'Mam I think you might have a Twitter problem.'

ZZZZZZZ. You deny this, but secretly wonder - and as you know wondering is the beginning of crossing the line.

ZZZZZZZZ. So you ease up again - limit your time - hope you have got the balance right.

ZZZZZZZZZ. You do a blog post about your A-Z Twitter journey.

ZZZZZZZZZZ. And wonder where it will all end up?

ZZZZZZZZZZZ. You shut down the computer - tell yourself you can do this.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZ. You switch the computer back on again.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Wonder if you are the only one hooked.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. After blogging about this, you tweet about it.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Start to get excited about Twitter all over again.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. And so the journey continues!!!!!!

Let me know how you are all getting on......................

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thought for the Weekend - Thomas Merton

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Role Play - Flash Fiction Friday

Role Play

It is a ritual.  I arrive expectantly late, no less than ten minutes, no more than twenty, sufficient time for him to scold.  I stand outside the panelled doors of his private rooms in the Saint Paul hotel, wearing my camel coat with the fake fur collar and red stilettos; his favourites.  It is late evening. Above me a glimmering chandelier cascades its light down the gold and ruby entrance which always leads me to him.
     I can hear his footstep as he waddles up the hall, then nothing - one, two, three, the silence just before he opens the door.  His face is angry, lined, flushed with alcohol, his eyes narrow, piercing.  He is dressed in a black silk dressing gown and matching slippers, revealing curled grey hair on his rose-stained chest.  The gown is loosely tied with an extravagantly large bow beneath his roly-poly waist.
     ‘You’re late slut.’  He holds the door ajar, waiting. I pass him by, looking forward.  The whiff of Amouage Die Pour Homme soils the air, nothing but the best of fragrances for a man like him. 
     I hear the click, click, click of my stilettos on the shiny tiled floor.  Closing the door, he will watch me until he is good and ready.  Even with my back to him, I know his eyes are on me, taking, without touching.
     There is champagne cooling on a side table.  He pops the cork, hands me a glass. I swallow fast, bubbles; sharp, cold, tiny droplets tease my face.  I drink some more, feeling instantly better; braver.
     I have a role to play.  I look chastised. He likes me this way.  He calls me a 'slut' again.  I’m still standing in my coat as he talks to me about Degas the artist and all his many masks.  I balance on my red high heels, his pretty audience.  He pretends a lack of interest, engrossed in his own clever conversation.  I reach out, untie the silk gown.  He looks shocked at first, he always does, then smiles, liking to play the game. 
     ‘You tart, you fucking, dirty, shameless tart,’ as he removes my coat with the swiftness of a master.  His right hand pulls my hair, yanking it, using a ferocity which I have come to know is part of how he sees me.  ‘I forgive you,’ he whispers.
     Naked, standing before the mirror, he stands behind me.  My eyes stretch, the player with the well-rehearsed modesty as I wait, his mouth opening ready to consume me.
      Afterwards he will cry like a baby.  Ask me if I despise him.  He will be gentle then, talk, and I will listen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Guest Post with Krystal Wade

Krystal Wade

Now I've spoken before about some of the great people I've met over the phenomenon of Twitter.  Well, one of them is a brilliant writer called Krystal Wade, and not only she is a terrific writer, she is also a terrific blogger.  Every time I visit her blog HERE, I know I am in for a treat.  I get to pretend I live in Virginia, that I commute 50 miles each day to work, that I am there in her kitchen when the offspring are getting up to high drama, or those wonderful times when Krystal shares with us memories about growing up in a different place, in a different time, but with the common denominator, the human condition.

Krystal is the first person to do a guest post at 120 Socks, so already you know I hold her in very high regard.  So when I asked her to come up with an idea for posting, the sky was the limit!  Like all my brill friends, Krystal has a quirky and often slightly wicked sense of humour.  Was I surprised when she suggested an 'Ode to a Toilet' - of course not - I just wanted to laugh out loud, and settled myself back for an entertaining read, which is exactly what you are now going to get!  Just to say here, the inspiration for this came to Krystal when she spotted an abandoned toilet by the road.  Which just goes to prove - Inspiration is everywhere!

Ode to the Toilet

In the 50’s you were quite a sight—sea-foam green, all shiny and new. Our friends would comment on your beauty when they’d come for a visit, and I just knew they enjoyed your comfort when they sat on you.

On the weekends I’d scrub and polish you clean, although no rings around your bowl could be seen. Your color was like no other. Our neighbors whispered their jealousies and our status rose as the years passed by.

The 60’s came and went and you were still a hit, but in the 70’s my thoughts turned traitorous and I wished you’d turn orange. I dreamed of painting your porcelain, but my darling husband didn’t agree. He said, “Times change, green will be popular again—you’ll see.” I listened to him, but jealousies were now mine to be had. I’d touted my status around, but it was gone and I was sad.

The 80’s began and I continued to cry, but times were changing and there was no reason why. Wild colors popped up everywhere, on people’s clothes and in their hair. Your stray from the norm would make people coo when they’d open the door to go poo.

Our excitement at your return in popularity continued through the 90's, but something was different, something was wrong.  We must have known; we had to have seen this coming all
along.  the century turned and people wanted simple, but we were old and didn't know, that toilets should be white as snow.
So on this day, I’m sad to say, you must go out with the trash. In with the new, out with the old—you’ll probably grow a whole lot of mold, and if you do, it’ll be okay, cause your sea-foam green and will be hidden away.

You can find more about Krystal by clicking on the following links:

Twitter: @KrystalWade 

Check out 120 Socks Guest Post with Krystal all about Writing Rituals @ http://tinyurl.com/5t53j5f


Savage Chickens - All about d Blog!

I've decided because I love them, that on the 23rd of every month, I'm going to do a Savage Chicken post.  We all gotta laugh at ourselves every now and then, and few are as gifted as this pair!



Monday, August 22, 2011

When You Were Small - The Teacher

It's been a little while since I've done a post as part of the 'When you were small' series, and it's not because I don't enjoy doing them, because I absolutely do, and more importantly, I love hearing back everyone's comments.

Anyone who has been following this series knows we have looked at first love, favourite toy, most important childhood memory, chores, etc, the list as I've said before is pretty endless.  There are lots of things and people which influence our childhood, but sometimes we forget one element which makes up a great part of our development, and that is going to school, and the teachers we meet there.

In Ireland we have primary school from about the age of 4/5 up to around 12.  After that we have secondary, which brings us up to university entry level.  When I think about primary school, for the most part my memories are all good ones.  I mean the classrooms were overcrowded, in my case accommodating two class groups together, for example 5th & 6th class.  I don't remember any teacher in particular from this time, although no doubt I should, as overall, I had a liking for school and that just doesn't happen by accident.

My hubby on the other hand, has a very firm memory of a primary school teacher, one whom he had for a number of years, Mr Moran.  I know this seems like a daft thing to say, as I am not talking about myself, but I know Mr Moran had a huge positive influence on my partner and in particular his love of books.  From what I have gathered over the years, one of Mr Moran qualities, was his realisation that all children have different needs, which was why he had plenty of time for sport, for classes talking about other cultures, for setting individual goals, and for story time.  Mr Moran it would seem from my secondhand knowledge, was a pretty brilliant story teller.  My hubby is dyslexic, and severely so.  A condition which wasn't diagnosed for him until well into adult life.  Nonetheless, when Mr Moran read out a story in class, he opened up a world of fantasy for all the children, those who could read easily, and those perhaps who could not.  This love was planted in my partner head, despite obvious reading difficulties, which meant that in later life, when there was a greater understanding of his condition, for the most part despite his early difficulties, he had an immense love for books and the stories within them.

I think I could write forever about teachers, and how they can influence you, because I do have two very distinct memories myself, both of which have stayed in my brain for a very long time, when believe me, an awful lot of other stuff has not.

The first was a temporary teacher we had in 1st year in secondary.  I don't remember her name, but I do remember that she was very young, and very petite, neither of which are of any relevance in themselves.  The part that is relevant however is how during her time teaching us history, we created a class project on Egypt.  I remember it so vividly, studying and copying the hieroglyphics onto large poster pages, how wonderful the project looked when it was put up as an exhibit in the classroom, and others students and teachers came to visit it.  I think right there, if the seeds had not been planted before, I realised how you could take something from your head and put it out there in a real and different way, and how working with others, sometimes you could create so much more.  The second memory I have is also of an History Teacher, but he was an English Teacher too.  After my 3rd year in secondly, due to family circumstances at the grand old age of 15, I needed to go out and get a real job.  The following year I enrolled in night classes to do my Leaving Certificate, our final exam before college entry.  Because the classes were at night, I met a great group of fellow classmates, many of them older than I, but I also met this teacher who has had a huge influence on my life.

Now I need to apologise here, because even though I know how important he was to me, I cannot remember his name.  This is not a slight on him, I am hopeless with names in general.  Anyhow (I knew I would have to get my fav crutch word in eventually), he was a very special man.  He opened up the world of English to me in a way which no one else had done.  I began to get excited about poetry, to understand Shakespeare, the tragedy of life, the beauty in a single word, I found meaning beyond the straight forward story within the front and back cover of a book, I learned about the layers in the creation of the written word, I learned to go beyond loving to read, I learned to love the language.  At the end of this post is an extract from notes in my English journal, ones he dictated to us on the very first evening of our studies, in fact they are the only words he ever dictated to us, but I understand why he wanted to impress them from the beginning.  I still have my journal from that time, I will keep it always.

Phew!  That was a long one.  I suppose what I'm saying is, teachers hold a special part of our formation, we often take them for granted, especially the good ones, and perhaps their influence is often not appreciated, but one thing I am certain of, their influence will never be forgotten.

If any of you have your own teacher memories, you can share them below by writing a comment.  I don't mind how long the comments are, the length and content are entirely up to you.

For other post in this series - check out http://tinyurl.com/626pkrb

Extract from my Leaving Cert English Notes:

I am doing Leaving Cert English literature, in the course of the year, I shall be exposing myself to a drama, an imaginative novel, and some poems.  I shall be asked to respond to the vision of the writer.  No two people can have the same response.  For instance, there is only one response to the question "What does two and two total?", but literature is an inexact science, and so there is not one answer, but as many as there are readers.

I am unique, I am as unique as my fingerprints, so that I see, feel things in an unique way.  When it comes to the character in a play, or the character in a novel, or a poet's feelings, I can never fully identify.  But I can observe with care the other person, and then transfer myself to his or her situation, and try to listen to my feelings there.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Grease Is The Word!

I had my first visit to the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin last night.  Crazy really seeing as how I live in Dublin.  I guess it's the age old thing of when great things are on your doorstep, it can take you a while to find them!  I was really excited about going as I'd already heard the venue was brill, and I certainly wasn't disappointed.  The theatre had all you would wish for, good layout, great sound, big crowd, comfy seating, cool lighting and a feeling of intimacy despite being able to accommodate such a large audience.

The reason for the visit was 'Grease The Musical', and having seen the film version of Grease a number of times before, I wasn't really sure what to expect from a live stage show.  I'll start by saying it certainly was a good night's entertainment.  Now having got that small, but important point out of the way, let's get down to the nitty gritty.

Firstly, at times it felt a bit more like a sing-along than a straight forward musical, which is fine and understandable seeing as how many of us know the numbers so well.  However,the opportunity to put real emphasis into dramatic performances might have been missed a little overall.  It is always difficult dealing with such an iconic music score, but when Rizzo, played by Kate Somerset, sang and performed, you knew right there and then, how the combination of great singing and drama can really electrify the stage.  Actually from the moment Kate Somerset appeared, she owned the stage, and was magnificent right to the end. 

Mary Byrne had her guest spot, and received brilliant audience support,(we do love our own) and she certainly belted out her number well.  Just to note here, the costumes for the High School Dropout number were simply magnificent, and overall the costume design was another star of the show.

Danny Bayne who played Danny was also engaging, although I was surprised the role was turned into more comic caricature than the straight rawness which John Travolta used in the movie.  I found this entertaining to begin with, but I did tire of the humour near the end.  There were some great performances on the night, and certainly terrific energy went into the production.  Overall I would say it worked, and certainly the audience got well rewarded for attending.  Carina Gillespie who plays Sandy had a great voice, but never engaged me emotionally, although I am not completely sure why.  

Overall the cast gave their all, they worked hard and well together, so deffo go see it, but undoubtedly, Kate Somerset  (centre stage in above pic) stole the show for me!

And just to confirm the event did take place in Dublin, here are a couple of pics, plus one of the opening stage!

Thought for the Weekend - Hello Family!

Regular visitors to my blog will have worked out by now that I don't usually post pictures of friends, family or any other personal connections on this site.  I've posted a couple of pics of our dog Benson, but that was okay because he told me it was - I could see it in his eyes!

Last week's 'Thought for the Weekend' was all about saying goodbye to an old friend.  As it turned out, for anyone who read the post, I never did take Joan's number out of my phone, my heart would not allow it.  

This week has been a bit of a strange one, but at the same time, when you join up all the dots, you get to see a pretty clear picture.  Last weekend we went to the christening of my niece, one of those family gathering where we all say, we must do this more often, but rarely get around to it.  Then later this week, I read a post about a friend of mine Krystal Wade, (which you can read HERE), all about balancing work and family life, specifically in the area of writing.  I also had extra time over the last few days with my two girls, rounding the week off last night with a trip to see 'Grease The Musical' (review to follow).  So all in all, the week brought family to the fore in bucket loads.  

Okay, hand on heart, I will admit here, I believe all my children are wonderful.  I may be biased, but I don't care.  I am not really sure how, or why, they each turned out so fantastic, but it did get me thinking about motherhood and all that.  Even today with them all grown up, I make mistakes, but for the most part, I do my utmost to be the best mother I can be.  So just as a exception today, I give you a pic of my three babies.  (The actual baby in the photograph is my niece, she's the one wearing the small white christening dress!)

And of course there is a quote below, which is the point of this regular posting - and just to clarify, I'm not saying I always pick the good approach, but like most of us, I do my best! 

I apologise in advance for any over sentimentality today - but we all gotta have a bit of it every now and again!  Have a great weekend all! :)

'There's no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.'
- Jill Churchill -

And for those of you who are feeling sentimental today - check out this link HERE
 - Thanks to @Castletonian on Twitter - a good guy to follow!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Coffee is a dangerous thing! - How Times have changed or have they?

It's been a little while since I've posted one of these retro advertisements which cause shock, laughter, disbelief and lots of other reactions. So cause I know you love them, I decided to see what I could come up with.

So here's the thing.  Since starting to post these vintage ads, I've asked the question - How times have changed or have they?  So when I came across this advertisement, I was reminded about something which happened last weekend.

You see, we ran out of coffee last Saturday (or probably a few days before), and we had visitors up, so not a good state of play.  I will add here, that I had coffee for the percolator, but none of the instant kind, so as only one person wanted a cup of coffee, they asked for instant.  My hubby made a cup in our miniature cafetiere, but apologised for not having any instant as Mrs 120 Socks had neglected to buy any!

It is rather amazing that said husband survived this comment, but even more amazing that I let it slide, and then completely forgot about it.  Until that is, I seen this 1950's advertisement below.  So even though hubby didn't put me over his knee or anything nearly as daring, he will gets words when he gets home!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Before I Go To Sleep - Book Club Choice for August 2011

Well it looks like we're in for a treat with this month's book club choice, Before I Go To Sleep, by S J Watson, is a psychological thriller - exactly the type of book I love, and it wasn't even my turn to pick!

Story Plot
In S.J. Watson’s debut thriller, Before I Go to Sleep , Christine doesn’t have trouble sleeping. She just can’t remember anything when she wakes up. Every morning, her memory reboots and she has to relearn everything about her life, the strange man in her bed, and how she arrived at this condition. At her therapist’s suggestion, she starts recording details in a secret journal, and finds that the people around her may not be telling her the whole truth, if any at all. Worse yet, what she doesn’t know could definitely hurt or even kill her.

What people say about this novel:-

'Simply the best novel I've ever read.' - Tess Gerritsen

'Brilliant in its pacing, profound in its central question, suspenseful on every page - and satisfying in its thriller ending.' - Anita Shreve

'So high concept, so ambitious, and so structurally brilliant.  It's rare to read a thriller that's perfect in every detail, but this one definitely qualifies!' - Sophie Hannah

'A deft, perceptive exploration of a fascinating condition, and a cracking good thriller.' - Lionel Shriver

'Left my nerves jangling.' - Dennis Lehane

Back Blurb

Memories define us.
So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?
Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight.
And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.
Welcome to Chritine's life.

Why not read along with us and post your review here!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Glór Session - Monday 15th August

The Glór Sessions is Dublin's only weekly music and poetry event, and takes place every Monday at The International Bar, 23 Wicklow Street.  Hosted by Stephen James Smith, it's an event which if you've been to it before, you will deffo go back again, and if you haven't yet had the pleasure, then you're missing out on a fantastic night.

This Monday Stephen has been brave enough to invite me to perform, so if you're able to make it, that would be absolutely brilliant, and if we only know each other via blogger/twitter or facebook, well come up and say hello!

There's no cover charge, so arrive in plenty of time as it's a very popular event.  Show starts at  9 o'clock.

Stephen James Smith will preform in a new show as part of The Fringe Festival this September - See details HERE

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thoughts for the Weekend - Joan O'Flynn

A little under 2 years ago a friend of mine died.  Her illness came quickly and took us all by surprise.  To say I loved this woman as a friend does not come close to how important she was to me.  Joan was a writer, an actress, a radio presenter, a mother, a grandmother, a wife, and the best of friends.  She made me laugh often. I listened to her advice because I knew she was so wise.  My life was better for her being part of it. 

Anyhow (fav crutch word), today something strange happened. By accident I hit her number on my mobile phone.  Now I know it's pretty odd that I still have her number in my phone, it wasn't like I was going to be able to call her.  But when she died, I couldn't remove it.  I realised when the number came up today, that I am now ready to do it, although I haven't done it yet.  I know for sure when I do, I will cry because well that's just me.

Because I thought of her again today, I read a diary which I kept the last time a number of us as friends went away on a writers retreat.  We all knew without being told that Joan's time was close, so we treated her like a Queen, in fact that was her blog name 'DramaQueen'. 

Below is an extract from my diary which I hope you will enjoy.  I have also put some quotes from Joan which I recorded in the diary, and her beautiful poem - 'When I'm Gone'.

The Last Weekend

We all stayed up late,
friends talking,
giving away small pieces of ourselves,
emotions mixed in the cauldron of friendship,
reading poetry
as sleep fought the battle
of noise from hotel corridors,
and the anxiety of an unwell friend

Joan Quotes:-

"The gift of a book, is the gift of language."

"When you are an old hen like me, you won't care so much."

"I used to be like you, checked out of hotel rooms on time, now I live dangerously."

"Stop doing everything, let the idiots look after themselves."

"Never stop writing, I want to see your book on my shelf to remind me how clever you are."

"I guess the lung cancer missed out this time around."

"I'm only slagging you, if I had half my voice left, I would talk endlessly just like you."

When I'm Gone

The grown ups
will know it's in the order of things,
and shed some tears, heave a sigh of relief
to hide their grief and fears of their own mortality.

They'll reminisce
through the drab funeral days,
and kiss and laugh and cry and probably fight
because that's what families are like.

But the children will forget the look on my face
when they won a race, or gave a hug
or shrugged off a childish worry.
They won't know the glow each grandchild brought,

As they wrapped themselves around my heart.
They won't hear of the fear when ill health came,
lying awake feeling the heartache,
fearing the pain of the future.

They won't remember
because who can share
the things too frightening, too precious, too rare
that we hold in the soul of our being.

By Joan O Flynn -my good friend

My Interview with Michelle Moloney @ Rants, with occasional Music!

I don't normally say much, you all know that!!!  Anyhow (fav crutch word), here's my interview with Michelle Moloney all about writing, as a guest blog post on Derek Flynn's brilliant site Rants with occasional music :)


The hand that first held mine by Maggie O'Farrell - Book Club Review

We finally had our book club meeting last week, and boy we are a tough bunch!  But sure I'll let you decide that for yourselves! There are a couple more reviews to come, so I'll update the post when I get them.

'The hand that first held mine' - By Maggie O'Farrell - Winner of the 2010 Costa Novel Award

"The book was an easy read and I was always happy enough to return to it.  The content was questionable in a lot of places, some of it was very schmalshy (new word right there!) and the plot didn't so much thicken as curdle and begin to smell... Hard to see why it won the Costa - though it did help wile away a few tired hours without once taxing the brain so deserves some credit there..."

"There are a lot of good things which can be said for this novel.  At times the writing is rather wonderful, indeed it would be worth the read to study and enjoy the first chapter alone, because therein lies the writer Maggie O’Farrell at her best.  The scene in Soho is masterful, and again I would say worth picking up just to read this section. Unfortunately, the writing style becomes tiresome the further into the narrative you go, perhaps because the characters never quite live up to what the reader might have expected of them.  Nonetheless the author has a very unique style and I can understand why many would find this a very enjoyable read, it certainly is an easy read.  Also, I have to say that the shifts in point of view where done incredibly well, and worth future study of how Maggie O’Farrell perfected this art.
Overall though, this novel was a disappointment.  The characters were often whimsical to the extreme, and not distinctive in the sense that one often overlapped into the other, both in the modern day story and the older 50’s/60’s one.  Nor did the two stories work together well, and you were left wondering why they were set up to support each other in the first place.   Also, I found the mother /child element of the modern day story unrealistic, and like others I wondered if this author had experienced motherhood at all.  I was surprised therefore to discover that she had, and indeed that one of her aims was to highlight this relationship.  Perhaps something got lost in translation, or perhaps the writer was too close to the subject matter to transcend it onto the page, but whatever the reason, if this was Maggie O’Farrell’s intention, the result unfortunately came far short of the mark. "

"Reading 'The Hand that first Held Mine' reminded me of that Dorothy Parker quote - ""This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." It really is just awful. It left me literally asking 'why?' It's poorly written, badly plotted and generally fairly pointless. Characters that the worst chick lit author would be embarrassed by, a plot as absent as its charm, and simple factual errors that were the cherry on the top of this dreadful literary cake. To be avoided. The Hand That First Held Mine? I think you can let go now... "

"Although there are elements of good writing in 'The hand that first held mine', O'Farrell fails to pull the two main stories together. The lack of plot doesn't help and the characters, Lexie in particular, remains wooden throughout."

"I felt this book exists in a limbo between literary and mainstream fiction. It is too banal and conventional to be literary, and it's characterisation is weak and one-dimensional. On the other hand it is too plot less to be a good pacy mainstream book. What sells this book (arguably) is its style which has it's moments but it is ultimately uneven.
I would imagine O'Farrell's style is polarising. It can be very arch and artificial and old fashioned and at times this worked for me, but across the novel it wore me down, and I found it self-indulgent. And this feels like a very self-indulgent project overall - you get the feeling that the author wanted to write about certain things - motherhood in one plot strand, the 50s/60s in another, but I didn't get the feeling that she had a strong plot-orientated concept to support either of these strands. So one plot strand (the weakest), set in the contemporary age, offers her the opportunity to think about motherhood and life with a new baby - but this plot strand has no movement. It feels like a series of plot less, pointless observations. Plot obviously isn't everything, but Elina and Ted are dull, dull, dull characters.
The stronger plot line - set in the 50s/60s - also feels like a free-flowing , directionless exploration of that era. Not a scrap of O'Farrell's no doubt exhaustive research remains unused by the end of it, and the reader is left swamped in over-description. This plot-strand features livelier characters, and Lexie is undoubtedly the novel's best character but that is only in relative terms to the other lifeless ciphers that populate these pages. Lexie is meant to be a girl finding herself and exploring herself, but she never quite lives up to her initial first chapter promise, Innes is meant to be smug and insufferable and is, but Lexie isn't too far behind him, but, fatally, neither of them are remotely interesting.
I got the impression that the author might have wanted to write a period novel primarily, but at some point decided for whatever reason (to make the novel 'relevant' perhaps) to provide a contemporary plot strand alongside. I think the novel would have worked if it had taken that risk and focused in on the 50s/60s - that's when O'Farrell's writing is at its best (relatively). In the contemporary plot strand she feels uncommitted and slapdash (particularly with details regarding babies), and consequently her characters end up being rather flat and the plot mopes about, wringing its hands aimlessly. Having said all this, I would read O'Farrell again under different circumstances. This type of novel is not her forté - her style would suit a more contemporary, experimental novel and her style could be interesting set in that sort of mould. But this is an odd fit of a novel - a stylist (however uneven) trapped in the confines of the dullest, most conventional novel you can imagine."


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Magpie Tales - Soul Sharing

Image Courtesy of Tess @ Magpie Tales

It was a funny old house to begin with, out on it's own, no proper roads for miles around.  It stood bright at night, like Las Vegas in the middle of a desert.  On the porch late evenings, we talked, him more than I.  I was the listener, always was.

Most of the good bits about the house are gone now.  Haunting memories are all that remain.  He too left, not long after that last night.  I don't know why I choose to come back.  What I thought I'd find.

The front door on the porch is broken, hangs off the hinges along with the glass cracked windows and paint curling up like apple peel.  I rub my hands along where once we sat.  The wood course, dry, life sucked away by long hours of sunlight and abandoned nights. 

Once I loved to listen to the night sounds, a backdrop to his mellow words as I'd glide through it all, his tone changing with the lateness of the hour, or if he felt my father was nearby.  Whispers which caressed my neck as he leaned in closer.  I loved him.  I know that now.  

That last night before he went, I knew he wanted more from me.  More of my soul.  The part of me, I wasn't ready to share.  

For Other Contributions to this week's prompt visit HERE

Anti Room - Film Club

Great Event below:- All proceeds from the night go to Famine Relief in Somalia

Well, the votes are in, the people have spoken, and they say they’d like to watch Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell trading quips in the utterly brilliant His Girl Friday in the Workman’s Club on Wednesday, August 10th.

So come join us to watch the film, have a drink from the bar, and maybe sample a few delicious cakes and biscuits. Last month we had a free raffle, but this time we’ve decided to sell tickets and give the proceeds to famine relief in Somalia.

If you have anything to donate – unused books, tickets, vouchers, foodie stuff, CDs, beauty products, booze – we’ll happily take them off your hands. The film, as ever, will commence at 8pm, so get in there early-ish to get a good seat (during the last film there was standing room only at the back). See you there!

Image: @martin_gleeson
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...