Thursday, May 9, 2013


After yesterday being a bit of a bad day, here is the perfect cure - A Guest Blog Post from Catherine Brophy :-)

Put the kettle on and enjoy!!!

I met Catherine Brophy as part of a writing retreat at Carousel Creates, and she certainly burned bright! Her new book looks exactly the kind of thing to lift any blues, and if any of you have harbored the idea of being a tortured artist, then have a read of 'Brow-Clutching' below!!!


 The Celtic Tiger is in his prime and the Kerrigans are splashing the cash.  They have made it big time, so eat your heart out you small town snobs! But Daddy’s-girl Kirsty wants Celebrity and International Fame and devotes herself to pursuing this dream. Crashing Madonna’s Christmas party doesn't help, neither does causing a stir on Big Brother but when a video clip of Kirsty goes viral on You Tube, fame arrives with a bang. But Tracey O’Hagan, a blast from a shady patch in the Kerrigan past, has appeared on the scene. She’s mad. She’s bad. And she’s definitely dangerous to know. Set in the years of the Celtic Tiger, Burning Bright is told in the voices of Kerrigan family members and friends.   

It’s funny. It’s believable. And it will definitely make you laugh. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:   Catherine Brophy is a writer, story-teller and broadcaster.   She writes film, T.V. and radio scripts and she also writes short stories. Her previous novels are The Liberation of Margaret Mc Cabe and Dark Paradise.   She lives a blameless life in Ireland but escapes whenever she can.   She’s been rescued by a circus troupe in Serbia, had breakfast with a Zambian chief, ate camel stew in the Sahara, and was kicked by a horse on the Mexican plain.

KINDLE:  http://amzn.to/XLEATU   PAPERBACK: http://amzn.to/XLE7B


We artistic types do love a good brow-clutch.   We love the idea of being, not just artists, but tortured artists.   And of course the summit of torture for every artist the Creative Block.

I recently saw a T.V programme about Louise Bourgeois - the artist who did the gigantic spider outside Tate Modern in London.  She lived her latter years in New York and, once a week, she held a salon for younger artists.   They showed her their work and she offered comment. 

“What is it about?” Louise asked an artist who showed her a painting
“It’s about the pain of being an artist.”
“Bullshit,” snapped Louise, “to be an artist is not a pain, it is a privilege!  Next!”
I love that attitude. Perhaps that’s why she lived until she was 102 and kept creating new works until the end.  She never suffered creative blocks.

The truth is that no writer, painter sculptor or poet suffered creative blocks until the late 1700’s!   Before that artists were artisans, employed by the rich to provide entertainment, education or decoration.   They were no more important than the tailor or the cook.   Even Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the musical genius, had to eat in the servants quarters.   No person of noble birth would demean themselves by hacking stone, daubing paint, composing a Sonata or scratching on vellum-except perhaps in a dilettante way as a hobby.

But, by the late 1700’s a wealthy middle class was emerging who were prepared to pay good money for the trimmings of nobility. Artists no longer had to depend on the patronage of a Prince, a Lord or a Bishop, they could sell their work on the open market.    Members of the upper classes began to take up artistic and scientific pursuits.   Gradually artistic ability became not just respectable but seen as something other, something extraordinary, something  granted by God to a few special people.  And artists, naturally, jumped on that bandwagon.

Artists began to feel special, more sensitive, more aware, more tender-hearted than the rest of lumpen humanity and that’s when they began to experience the Creative Block.  Think of it. I am a gifted, exquisitely sensitive being and my creativity is blocked by some malignant force…. Oh the horror!   The agony!  How can I ever survive in this desert?
Here’s how.  
  1. Creativity demands focus and attention therefore it is tiring - When you get stuck and no ideas are coming perhaps that’s nature’s way of saying:  Take a break.   Feed the dog.   Go visit your friends.  Watch X Factor. Go for a swim.   Dance.   If that doesn’t work then…
  2. Your greatest block is yourself - One thing that is certain is, every writer, painter, sculptor, actor, musician will come up against their own sore spots, those tender areas we’d all like to leave undisturbed.   Avoid them and your work will suffer or worse still you’ll get stuck and stay stuck.   So you need to find a way of helping yourself.  And that will be different for everyone, some people run, some play sports, some meditate, some practise martial arts, some work it out through their work, some get counselling.   Only you can decide what’s best for you.   So if you get badly stuck check your sore spots and apply the salve that works best.
  3. Inspiration is not always instant - Sometimes it is and that’s lovely but, more often than not, it emerges from the ordinary.  After you’ve taken a break and checked your sore spots go with the first idea that comes into your mind.   It may not be perfect.   You may think it’s lame.   It may not have the pizzaz that you want.  That doesn’t matter.   It’s a starting place and it will lead to the ideas you like.  
So now, if you’ll excuse me, I want to feel artistic and sensitive and superior to the rest of lumpen humanity so I have to go clutch my brow and contemplate the pain of being an artist!   

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