Saturday, January 31, 2009

Poem

It’s spiralling, rushing and swimming under O’Connell Bridge,
Litter in the water, where nothing lives.
I’m watching, waiting for something else to happen.

Today on the news, in the one breath, was recession,
And a young girl scared forever by a knife and her father’s blood.
While, unknowing, somewhere close by a baby stirs,
His face wet with his mother’s tears.

Moscow sees protestors beaten in the streets
And just across the sea are the beginnings of things unravelling
With English jobs for English workers, and the starting seeds of hate
Worming their way into everything.

The front page of today’s Irish Herald was concerned
With the antics of naked students in the streets
And breathing out toxic celebrity rubbish,
Oblivious to a world that is bleeding change.

The wind is cutting into my cheeks, watering my eyes
And the litter in the water looks almost beautiful,
Catching the light like a lie, the river sending it away
Cleaning Dublin again, and it is starting to rain.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Poem

What if, hypothetically speaking, we were to have a conversation about this,
And I was to tell you that, even after all this time, I’m still angry
Because I feel that you could have done something more.
Would you think that, maybe, you could apologise for your inaction,
And could we begin to dismantle the wall of silence and hurt that has grown between us.

What if I was to outline for you how hurt after hurt had built up into something insurmountable
That colours every moment of every day, blacking out hope or happiness.
Would you understand and maybe tell me that the knowing had hurt you too,
Or would you wish that I would let sleeping dogs lie.

And if I was to magically strip away time and the decisions that were made then
Would you make different choices, take a different path
And change the past for the sake of the present,
Or would you still pretend that you did enough, and that sometimes these things just happen.

It’s very easy for us both to look at a woman and forget that she was once also a child.
Sometimes I would like to trap you in my moments so you could feel them too,
But mostly I would like to be able to love you
Without it being so tied up in hate and unhappiness and regret.

I would like to have a conversation about this, but I am choked by what ifs.

Recession bites...

This month the combined costs of Gas bills, Electrity bills, rent, television bill, television licence, internet connection, credit union and loan repayment came to €400 more than a months wages; leaving me a grand total of zero for things such as food, clothes and much needed alcohol. Also, said wage was reduced by about €50 because of the new tax.

Damn recession.

Some years ago when I was delighted to be accepted into an access course and go to university I thought that I could get a degree and be fairly 'cash comfortable', however as it was an arts degree it was feck all use to me!

I'm not one of those people with huge dreams, I don't want to be a millionaire, but it would be nice to earn enough money to live on.

Today I am mostly sad, and life seems just a bit harder than it really should be. Tomorrow things will be brighter, I'll still be poor but I'll have gotten giving out about it out of my system.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bad News for the Irish Writers Centre

Ireland’s writers protest at disturbing decision by the Arts Council of Ireland to terminate funding to the Irish Writers’ Centre with immediate effect.



Ireland's literary fraternity has been stunned by the decision by the Arts Council of Ireland to terminate with immediate effect all funding to the Irish Writers Centre. Their statement, signed by a number of Ireland leading authors, including Maeve Binchy, Booker prize winners, Roddy Doyle, John Banville and Anne Enright, acclaimed International authors Richard Ford and Will Self, leading novelists, Joseph O’Connor, Dermot Bolger, John Boyne and Sebastian Barry, poets Paul Muldoon, Derek Mahon, Paul Durkin, Ciaran Carson and Ireland’s Professor of Poetry Michael Longley and literary figures such as literary agent Jonathan Williams are amongst the 55 signatories on the statement that has been circulated to all the National newspapers in Ireland and the United Kingdom expressing their dismay at this disturbing decision and calling for the urgent reinstatement of funding.



The Irish Writers' Centre, which Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney has called "a part of the literary culture", and best selling author John Boyne has described as “a part of the fabric of literature in Ireland”, is the national development agency for the development of writers and writing in Ireland where one if its primary functions is to foster and develop new writing talent so as to maintain Ireland's leading position in World literature.



Literature is a major part of Ireland's social and cultural history. The Irish Writers’ Centre was a space that writers could call their own. It is the only centre in Dublin devoted to literature that can provide an in-house space for readings, literary events, festivals, creative writing courses, developmental works and was the home to a number of writers groups and National organisations such as the Irish Writers’ Union and the Irish Translators and Interpreters Association. With the termination of funding access to these resources will be lost, leaving the next generation of Irish authors in a vacuum and having to look elsewhere for guidance and development.



If Ireland is to maintain its position as a major literary country it needs to develop new and talented writers who have access to the necessary skills, resources and outlets to further their work which, with the termination of funding to the Irish Writers’ Centre, they will find increasingly difficult.



The Irish Writers' Centre will now have to generate its own financial support to be able to provide the services we offer. To do this we have launched a donation scheme whereby you can donate money online at www.writerscentre.ie or you can send a cheque pledging your support to the centre at 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1.



We have also set-up an Irish Writers' Centre Benefit night on 22 January at 7 p.m. with leading Irish author and recent winner of the Novel category at the Costa Awards, Sebastian Barry. Tickets are priced at €50 with all the money raised going to the Irish Writers’ Centre. Tickets can be purchased from the Irish Writers’ Centre on 01 872 1302.



With your help our fundraising target of €200,000 can be achieved and our programmes and services for writers reinstated in full.





SIGNED STATEMENT



The Arts Council has recently terminated all funding to The Irish Writers’ Centre, an important national institution for the support, development and promotion of writers and writing. While we acknowledge that cuts are inevitable in the present economic downturn, this decision is nevertheless disturbing. It comes at the end of a notably successful year for the Centre, a year which has seen audience numbers and the Centre’s participation in the country’s literary culture at an all-time high. We therefore strongly urge that this decision be reversed and funding for the work of a thriving cultural organisation (€200,000 in 2008) be reinstated urgently.



John Banville

Sebastian Barry

Maeve Binchy

Dermot Bolger

John Boyne

Liam Browne

Ciaran Carson

Prof. Danielle Clarke, University College Dublin

Harry Clifton

Dr. Steve Coleman, NUI, Maynooth

Kevin Crossley-Holland

Philip Cummings

Peter Cunningham

John F. Deane

Celia De Fréine

Roddy Doyle

Paul Durcan

Anne Enright

Prof. Tadhg Foley, NUI, Galway

Richard Ford

David Gardiner, Director, Creighton University Press

Prof. Luke Gibbons, University of Notre Dame

Hugo Hamilton

Dr Derek Hand, St Patrick's College, Dublin

Kerry Hardie

Sean Hardie

Jack Harte

Aidan Higgins

Alannah Hopkin

Jerzy Jarniewicz

Prof. Margaret Kelleher, NUI, Maynooth

Claire Kilroy

Edna Longley, Professor Emerita, Queen’s University Belfast

Michael Longley, Ireland Professor of Poetry

Deirdre Madden

Derek Mahon

Prof. Kerby A. Miller, University of Missouri

Prof. Sean Moore, University of New Hampshire

Paul Muldoon

Éilis Ní Dhuibhne

Dr. Clare O'Halloran, University College Cork

Sean O’Brien

Joseph O'Connor

Cormac Ó Cuilleanáin ("Cormac Millar")

Timothy O’Grady

Glenn Patterson

Justin Quinn

Ian Sansom

Will Self

Matthew Sweeney

Prof. Lawrence Taylor, NUI, Maynooth

Alan Titley

Shaun Traynor

Prof. Kevin Whelan, Director, Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, Dublin

Jonathan Williams



-----------------------------------

Press relaease from Irish Writers Centre:

The Irish Writers’ Centre

19 Parnell Square

Dublin 1

tel: (01) 872 1302

Dawkins Message - Atheist Bus




"What is this that frighteneth us? Can it be an atheist bus? Yes, the dreaded “Probably There is no God”, so stridently Cuts through our calm like plunging knife – And asks us to enjoy our life! “Enjoy your life”? The dreadful scene Disturbs the Reverend Stephen Green. No chance that he’ll “Stop worrying”. Instead we see him hurrying To file his silly little plea With the official Agency That keeps the Standards gently rising Of all our British Advertising. “Probably? You cannot prove it. So therefore you must now remove it.”

As agreed with Ariane (Whose buses, red and partisan Drive with insolent abandon All around the streets of London) And with her fellow rationalists Among the British Humanists, In April there’s a second wave Of buses from the pounds I gave Together with the gifts I matched And also the small fraction snatched Back from the Inland Revenue – That’s all the Gift Aid that is due. So now we need some good ideas To feed the faith-heads’ darkest fears. A slogan bright, for all of us – Atheistes omnibus. [1]

We've already had some nice suggestions for the slogan for the second wave of buses in April. I said that my own preference was for “No More Faith Schools”, probably following something along the lines of the familiar (perhaps too familiar to our regulars, but not to the citizens of London) “There’s no such thing as a . . . child”, perhaps including the joking reference to “Marxist child” or “Postmodernist child”. Somebody suggested a long list of ex-Gods (Mithras, Zeus, Horus, Wotan etc), all crossed out, with Yahweh and Allah crossed out. I like that suggestion too. There are some other good suggestions that people here have made. Like “Religions: They can’t all be right. They can all be wrong”. Does anybody know the origin of “Religion: For consenting adults in private.” I wonder whether people might send in all their suggestions, to form an orderly list on the page linked below, so that we can survey a gathered field and make a choice.

Submit your slogans here: http://richarddawkins.net/article,3521,New-Bus-Campaign,Richard-Dawkins

Many thanks

Thank you

Richard"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] With acknowledgments to A D Godley (1856-1925): What is this that roareth thus? Can it be a Motor Bus? Yes, the smell and hideous hum Indicat Motorem Bum! Implet in the Corn and High Terror me Motoris Bi: Bo Motori clamitabo Ne Motore caedar a Bo – Dative be or Ablative So thou only let us live: Whither shall thy victims flee? Spare us, spare us, Motor Be! Thus I sang; and still anigh Came in hordes Motores Bi, Et complebat omne forum Copia Motorum Borum. How shall wretches live like us Cincti Bis Motoribus? Domine, defende nos Contra hos Motores Bos!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Poem

There are things that we do not talk about.
We are very good at smiling our smiles
And whistling our tunes and pretending
That there is no big black mixture of hurt and genetics
Clouding in the corner of the room.

We are too old now to ask someone to check under the bed
And sweep out the monsters lurking there
So their residence is permanent and they grow fat on fear,
Creeping out in the darkness to sleep beside us.

When we try to whisper them to others
They tell us about silver linings and smiling umbrellas
And we smile again until our cheeks ache
And our muscles are fixed, forcing the smile.

There are things that we do not talk about
And so they claw their way into our hearts, laughing,
And we marvel at others ability
Not to notice that we are bleeding.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Atheist bus

So the atheist bus campaign has been launched in the UK which is great, but I bet you any money that the same campaign would not be allowed to happen in the good 'ole Catholic ROI!

For more info on the campaign visit
http://www.atheistcampaign.org/

Random ramblings... for no good reason!

She is the nightmare that wakes me, the nightmare that I am unable to put into words. She is a story I was told when I was a child, a story that I pretended not to know. She is every one of us who has ever felt this same fear in a dark moment when we are alone, any one of us who has run away from a shadow when we are walking alone late in the night. She is a woman confused and unsure if her no really meant no. She is a woman whose no was screamed aloud and ignored and a woman whose no was a half-whispered plea. She is the difference between the clicking of high-heeled shoes meaning powerful femininity and meaning that you cannot run away. She is every woman whose shadow caught her, who has suffered for her sex and has been ignored while she screams against what has happened to her. She is so many women, frightened into hiding, who should be shouting to be heard.

She is every daughter who learns, from the moment that she is born, that she must always be afraid if she is to stay safe. That she must carry her bag beneath her coat, that fighting only makes it worse, that she is the reason, that guilt belongs to her, that her skirt is too short, that she danced too close. That she is only a woman.

She is sex when it is gentle, when it is hard and fast and still right. She is sex when sex is rape. She is power and pleasure and orgasm, and she is pain and fear and panic. She is beauty and beautiful in her willingness and in her dissent. She is perfect and strong and brave and afraid.

We are all innocent because we did not know; we are all guilty because we refused to see. We have choices to make and choices that are made for us, without our consent or desire. We are constantly tested and we succeed, we are tested and we fail. We close our hearts and minds and we shut out the voices that have asked us to act. We fight and we are victorious, we fight and we fail, but we must fight. We hide and we are hidden, we hide and we are found but we should not have to hide anymore.

We are girls and women and truths and fiction immutable linked by our own admissions and lies.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ah so that's where is originated...






For as long as I can remember I have been afraid of clowns. I make a joke about it most of the time, clown are scary, oh look at the scary clown etc; but they are actually the one thing that can bring out goose-pimples on my skin and a very real cold sweat on my back.

I truly hate clowns.

When I was little my Dad loved to read Stephen King books and I used to pick them up and read them after he did. Really, I was probably too young to read these scary stories, but he never went in for censoring what we read. (which is funny because we weren’t allowed watch the A-Team because it was too violent.)

I remember reading Carrie and The Stand and a lot of other stories that scared me silly but the book I don’t actually remember reading is ‘It’. Now, I have been told that I did read this book, my sister (who shared a room with me) remembers that I refused to have the light off at night for weeks and kept the book in a drawer when I wasn’t reading it. (using the same logic later on in life I would drape a towel over my telly after seeing The Ring, thinking that would stop the scary girl from crawling out and getting me.)

This Christmas the same sister kindly gave me her slightly battered copy of It to read. I started it last Thursday and since then the house has been lit up like a radio-active Christmas tree, for the first time in years I have gone to sleep with the lights on and I haven’t washed any dishes because of an irrational fear that Pennywise will start muttering to me out of the drain in the kitchen.

Now I know, in my sensible and rational mind, that Pennywise is a character in a book. I know that this particular story was created by Stephen King, in short I know (rationally) that nothing that I am reading is real. Strangely that hasn’t helped. For the first time since I was a child I have lain awake listening to the house settle and letting my imagination run wild. I have had my heart thump because of some creak on the stairs and have been literally paralysed in my bed, waiting for that horrible clown to come lumbering into my room with his balloons and killer teeth.

It’s frightening and fantastic and the book is currently in the freezer because I can’t bring myself to read it in the dark.

Scary stuff.