A Writer in Ireland: Part One

Born in this island, maimed by history and creed-infected, by my father taught the stubborn habit of unfettered thought I dreamed, like him, all people should be free. -John Hewitt, “The Dilemma” There was a surreal, joyful melancholy to this homecoming. As we punched through the haze above a sweltering London and soared left, easing to […]

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Before You

Once upon a time (actually, ten years ago today) I screamed and swore my way through 24 hours of excruciating labour before a disturbingly cheerful surgeon sliced open my stomach at 3am and pulled out a tiny wailing creature who would prevent me from sleeping/weeing on my own/having any peace/existing as an autonomous adult for […]

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An Irish family history

It’s now just over two weeks until I get on a plane to Ireland. In preparation for my trip back to my birthplace, I’ve been talking at length to my father about our life in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. Around two weeks ago I asked him to give me directions to our old house, my old […]

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Insta Bellbird

Who knew Instagram could be such a useful platform for a writer/editor? For a long time I discounted it, thinking that I was a words and ideas person, not a pictures person. But eventually, with the help of my daughter, I succumbed. And I’ve been surprised at how useful and interesting it has been. I […]

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Beginnings

I’m going home next June. I was born in Northern Ireland, and lived with my Protestant minister father and my mother and two siblings in County Armagh, just by the border. In the seventies (yes I am that old) South Armagh was known as “bandit country” because it was such a dangerous place to be during […]

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I used to 🙂 them but now I’m 🤔

I was sending a text to someone the other day, and it got me thinking. This person had let me down and I was feeling a little put out, but not enough to be harbouring any resentment. She texted, “Are we all OK?”, in response to which I sent back the word “Yep.” At least, […]

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Cherish one another

It is barely 24 hours since Donald Trump became the next President-elect of the United States of America. Protests have started. Social media has gone nuts. Personally, I hold grave concerns for the next four years, and I am deeply disturbed that somebody like Donald Trump could win so much support, even though I understand – […]

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Inaugural NZ National Writers’ Forum

Stuck in a room full of writers for an entire weekend? It would be some people’s idea of a nightmare. It was my idea of Heaven at the inaugural National Writers’ Forum in Auckland. The forum was the brainchild of the New Zealand Society of Authors (of which I’m a member). Sometimes inaugural events have […]

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Me and my big mouth

It’s interesting what you do if you just have to. I’ve been having some ongoing shoulder issues, so I’ve been learning some hard lessons about slowing down and adjusting my work habits. I won’t bore you with the details, but I had a steroid injection in my right shoulder on Monday and I’m having to rest it […]

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Choosing a Title

A short thought today on titles – specifically, choosing one for your story or novel or poem. Each time I start a new post here I am invited to fill in the “Title” section at the top. I used to struggle with this. I tried to come up with something creative and intriguing and clever, […]

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