The Magic Thread

My last post, A Letter to my Daughter, got me thinking about the connection between parents and their children, and how it never truly breaks, even when tested by conflict or emotional damage or grief or fear or numerous other challenges – and even when either or both parties think it has been irreparably damaged. […]

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A Letter to my Daughter

To my daughter, This is your last week of primary school. I couldn’t let it go by without writing to you. It’s what I do to process my thoughts and feelings; to line things up in my mind until they make sense and form some sort of pattern; to express what sometimes cannot be said […]

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Never Too Late

After a difficult year during which I felt no creative impulses whatsoever, I have started work on my novel again, rewriting and editing my way through a second draft. It had been sitting in a drawer for over two years. I’m excited, if a little rusty. I feel very out of practice and I have […]

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It’s OK to be Slack. Really.

  There is so much pressure today to be better, quicker, faster, more efficient, more creative, and to be constantly doing something “worthy”. (Oh, how I hate that word.) For writers, the pressure is on to write every day, to consistently be inspired and enthusiastic, to produce work on a regular basis, to be observant […]

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Spring

Tomorrow is the start of spring in my part of the world. I would like to share two poems that herald the arrival of my favourite season. One is my own, and one is by the English poet Philip Larkin. Both hold sadness and hope in equal measure. Nothing is either this, or that. Even […]

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Building Bridges

A friend sent me a much-needed text yesterday. Earlier in the day we had walked together and I had updated her on the very difficult period I was going through. Here is an edited extract: Darling, I’m so so sorry that your heart is so heavy. You’ll get through this…Keep thinking and living in baby […]

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Want the Change

And I know I am solid and sound; To me the converging objects of the universe perpetually flow; All are written to me, and I must get what the writing means. -Walt Whitman Change is hard. It’s one of the things we struggle with the most, along with zipping up our jeans after a night […]

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The Beginning

2017 was a turbulent, strange, unexpected year for me. The highlight was going home to Ireland for a month by myself. I’m still processing the journey and what it meant to me, and you can follow along as I write about it in installments. I’ve posted four already, and more will be on their way […]

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The End

I am thinking today of endings and beginnings, and how we often think we are not ready for either. We are. In the words of A.A. Milne: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know.”   The End The end comes gently, on tiny […]

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A Writer in Ireland: Part Four

In Crossmaglen the fire burns true The patriotic flame will never die And when you hear the battle cry It will be the fighting men of Crossmaglen. -“The Fighting Men of Crossmaglen”, IRA ballad, 1970s Armagh and Crossmaglen After a wildly comfortable night in a country B & B just outside Armagh (I had it […]

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