The highlights of 2015 were the launch of my first collection of poems, AT The Edge, eating on Istanbul roof tops in sunshine with wailing Imams, the Sound of Music and Peter Pan on Ice at Bord Gais and Jeremy Corbyn getting elected. The British General election was a low point as were the flood of refugees tramping over mountains and water to get to Europe. Of course, the bombings, the wars, ISIS…the growth of corporatism, corruption and the collective feeling of worthlessness I have found to be very emotionally corrosive this year.
I have written nine short stories, so have a collection together; I have begun a novel which I will finish in 2016. I have also put together a second poetry collection and organised all of it into a wonderful electronic filing system where it now gathers the equivalent of computer dust. I have not been so successful at getting published in mags and so have a massive folder full of rejections which everybody tells me I have to have if I am to be successful. I have written a 80+ blogs, flights of fancy, reflections on writing, family, London, politics and my followers are on the rise. I have not read enough so that may be a new year resolution in 2016. Huh, I hear you think, it’s alright for some.
And here are the statistics for 2015: I have walked about 200 kms and swam about 150. God knows how many Netflix series I have watched but favourites were Rake, SLK and the Midwife Calls. And while I need to read more, I have read a number of great books, The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma, Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connnor, The Long Gaze Back edited by Sinead Gleeson, A Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami, and Gilead by Marianne Robinson and the four books (I am on the 4th) by Elena Ferranti are the ones that stand out.
I have facilitated four workshops, including a particularly fun one on form, organised three fab AT The Edge literary nights, A fun poetry party in Cavan which was a great success, and the Cavan All Ireland Slam. I also helped the Town Hall run over 70 consecutive hours of poetry, plays, and music over Halloween. The Town Hall is a great addition to Cavan. They are a committed, creative group of people, hard working who bring fabulous and mad cap ideas to Cavan. The opening on Culture Night was wonderfully creative as was the Halloween Party and parade and this Christmas they supported The Strypes concert and so we were treated to Hollywood like splendour with massive rockets rising with, and giant wombs giving birth to, the fab four.
So what about 2016.
To do: sell the house, get published, run workshops, travel more, write, read, publish and enjoy the present rather than rue the future. I want to rid myself of the guilt that I feel about writing and not earning an income.
The publication of the book has been some compensation for the lack of publication in poetry outlets and competitions last year. It is strange though, before I was published, I had a simple faith in my poetry. I liked it and loved writing. The publication of a book has changed that somehow, and everything is a little more scary. I read and know more poets and writers and it seems to be such a vast and competitive world for which I am too old and cautious.
Oh well, after the hip operation in February….I’ll be able to scale the world!
Happy New Year to all my friends and colleagues!
PS While looking through my collection of photographs to choose a photo for this blog, I am reminded of the amazing exhibitions I saw, particularly Exhibit B in Galway at the summer arts festival, and the lovely time I have had with my friends and family in London and Cavan. Thank you, everybody.