Monday, November 28, 2011

How to Succeed - Thought for the Week

Now some of you loyal followers may have noticed that I haven't posted a 'Thought for the Weekend' for the last couple of weeks.  Believe me, it wasn't because I wasn't thinking, it was more that life just got really complicated and time disappeared a little the way water disappears down a drain, fast and furious.

So, as I have been slacking in this department, I've decided to post a 'Thought for the Week' instead.  Probably like some of you, I was watching Xfactor over the weekend, (yes I know I just said I had no time for anything, but somethings you just do even when no time exists) and I heard Gary Barlow's words on the best advice he ever heard, and this is what he said.  He said, success is 90% hard work and determination, and 10% talent. 

Now I remember hearing something like this before, which of course gave me huge encouragement, after all we can all work darn hard if we choose to.  So I got to thinking about the advice many successful writers give about writing, which is that in order to write, you must first sit your bum on a chair and begin.  The sitting down bit being the key.  Thus bringing us nicely to the 'Thought for the Week', courtesy of Mr Woody Allen:-

'Eighty per cent of success, is showing up.'

- Woody Allen -

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Radio Broadcast Not To Be Missed!

Three Rivers - One Summer

I met Ger Philpott via the Irish Writers Centre.  He is a remarkable man, and I have always found his company to be interesting, insightful, engaging and witty - plus he is a darn good cook!

His documentary of 'Three Rivers One Summer' can be listened to via the Podcast link at the end of this post!  If it well worth the listen, so don't miss it.

I will put a brief bio of Ger below, along with an introduction and link to the broadcast.

Ger Philpott is an award winning screenwriter and filmmaker. He writes for the print media, radio, screen and TV. His work includes the prizewinning short films, Change and An Turas. He is the author of the best-selling book on AIDS, Deep End. He works as a writer, director, radio producer and freelance journalist.

A keen gardener and accomplished cook he lives in Dublin. He is a current Irish Masters swimming record holder and breeds and exhibits Champion Weimaraner dogs.

Introduction to Three Rivers - One Summer

Both Ger Philpott's parents died in the past year, within three months of each other. This documentary celebrates their lives. The Philpott's are a swimming family - both Ger and his Dad swam competitively at Masters level internationally - in fact they made a bit of swimming history in the mid eighties when they both won gold medals at the same international competition in Rome.

Shortly before his dad died, he asked Ger to swim the Lee this summer. He climbed back into the pool two days after his Dad was buried to train for the event - a former competitive swimmer, if he was to do it he'd have to do it right! Two of his brothers also did the Lee swim in his honour. For Ger, working his way back to fitness was an antidote to grief.

The swim quickly grew into three rivers - the Hudson in NYC last May, the Lee in Cork in July and the Liffey in Dublin last September. The journey of the rivers was a joyous, bittersweet affair.

Three Rivers tells the story of a journey through grief and Ger and his siblings love of their parents. In a sense it's their love story with them intertwined with their own love story.  It features love letters Ger's dad wrote to his Mum when they were courting - he was living in war time Britain at the time. It also features some of their music from down the years - Mario Lanza, John Mc Cormack, Doris Day, Ry Cooder, Patrick Watson etc etc... They also managed to capture some unique underwater sound and atmosphere during the making of the programme which features actuality form NYC, Cork and Dublin.  Further details HERE

Produced by Ger Philpott and Ronan Kelly.

Ger recording at the Liffey Swim

Listen to Podcast HERE 'Three Rivers - One Summer'

Monday, November 21, 2011

Something to make you Smile!

This clip definitely falls into the label of 'The A-Z of anything', which by the way was specially designed to embrace items like these.

Hope you enjoy this clip as much as I did.  Before you click on it, here's a picture clue:-

Go on - View the clip HERE   It will make you smile!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Francis Mac Manus Short Story Competition 2011/2012

Details of this year's Francis Mac Manus Short Story Competition are now available.  This is an annual competition seeking short stories for radio.  Winning entries will be broadcast on RTE Radio.

General Guidelines
The competition is open to anyone born or resident in Ireland.
Only one entry per person is allowed.
Entries must be original work of the author and not previously published or broadcast.
Stories must be between 1,800 - 2,000 words.
Entries should be double spaced and type written on one side of A4 paper.
The Authors name should only appear on the official entry form.
Entries will be accepted until the 20th January 2012.
There is no Entry Fee for Submission.
Entries should be posted or delivered to:
                                                                RTE Radio 1 Short Story Competition
                                                                RTE Radio Centre
                                                                Dublin 4

Link to full Rules & Regulations, along with Application Form can be found HERE

Friday, November 11, 2011

Book Club - The Method by Tom Vowler

After the great success of last month's book club choice Before I Go To Sleep, this time we are going to go on a slightly different adventure.  From crime thriller to short story collection - an interesting diversion you might think, but from the sound of it, this is no ordinary short story collection.  So I'm anticipating many diverse, exciting, insightful, love, hate and opinionated charged responses. 

Having read some of the many great reviews about this collection, I can't wait to read it.  Available to order on line HERE. 6.70 Sterling with free delivery Worldwide.

Brief Description:
The characters in this award-winning debut collection are very good at losing things: children, lovers, hope, the plot. They discover the past is not a place easily escaped from, as it pursues them with startling, sometimes horrifying, consequences.
A writer takes his research a little too far; a couple, stricken with guilt and grief, prepare a last meal; a group of swingers is rocked by the arrival of a new couple; a man takes a train journey to learn how to kill again; a deformed brother and sister exact revenge half a mile underground; a modern-day messiah astonishes a criminal gang, and a father is forever tormented by the few minutes his back was turned.
It’s impossible not to connect with these lives and the things that happen to them remaining with you long after reading. Provocative and bold, these stories will get under your skin.

Extract from review  by Melissa Lee-Houghton of The Short Review
Vowler builds layers of insight and understanding; his narratives can be steadily harrowing and difficult to read but always with an unfaltering purposeful edge. We know these stories must be seen through.  His prose leaves nothing to chance, he covers every detail with a keen eye and a wealth of vision. Vowler’s first person narratives are very quick, assured and adept. He is not afraid to be new, to be dangerous with it and flaunt his talent for imagining the necessary elements to compose coherent, robust and most importantly, satisfying short stories.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Walking/Photo Journal - Catching the Light!

Okay I admit it, I've been a little lazy, (rephrase) more than a little lazy with the Walking/Photo Journal of late.  However, this morning despite the sun illustrating the dust on my windows, I figured that a good walk out in the fresh air was exactly what I needed.  At the very least I could ignore the dusty windows.

Also, seeing as how this week's reflective thought (see side panel) is all about reflecting the light - here are some pics I took while out feeling the breeze and sun on my face.  Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thought for the Weekend - The Writing Stranger

For this week's thought for the weekend, I give you the following quote - Love the idea of the theoretical stranger!

"What a writer can do, what a fiction writer or a poet or an essay writer can do, is re-engage people with their own humanity. Fiction and essays can create empathy for the theoretical stranger."

- Barbara Kingsolver-

Friday, November 4, 2011

Art Exhibition on behalf of Anti Racism

An art exhibition on behalf of the Anti Racism Network will open this saturday.  It is a great opportunity not just to support a good cause, but also to buy really affordable art and have a good night out. 

There will be live music -Luka Bloom opening the show with a beautiful song and there will be plenty of musical performances throughout the evening.

The show will be open in the Back Loft (just off Thomas Street, take a right at Borza when coming from town end) from 1pm but the official opening starts at 5pm.

If you are in town - check it out!

Back Loft Gallery

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Shortlisted Bridport 2011

Delighted to hear my story The Present has been shortlisted for Bridport UK 2011.  Thrilled with the news!

This is me right now:-

Details of the 2012 Competition HERE

A Girl's Guide To Office Men - How Times Have Changed Or Have They?

Okay, I know you all love the vintage ads, and I was planning on doing one over the next couple of days, but when this was sent to me via @RachelLuRay on Twitter - well, I just couldn't resist.  The article is from ' Miss Magazine' circa 1966, about Irish Men in the Office.  Can't wait to hear what you all think!  You may need to zoom in to read it, but remember, education is a wonderful thing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Novel Writing Month - November Calling

Okay this is a pretty cool way of getting your words to flow onto the page.  I could give you a long introduction about how this happens, but the article below pretty well covers it.  Suffice to say, when you take those doubting gremlins away, not allow them time to sneak up on you, and keep yourself busy writing, the words, your story, happens. 

Why not check it out - its far better than watching too much television!

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.
As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.
In 2010, we had over 200,000 participants. More than 30,000 of them crossed the 50K finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo super stardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.
So, to recap:
What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.
Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.
Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To give yourself permission to write without obsessing over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To stop being one of those people who say, “I’ve always wanted to write a novel,” and become one of those people who can say, “Oh, a novel? It’s such a funny story–I’ve written three.”
When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins 12:00:01 November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at 11:59:59. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

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