Friday, January 27, 2012

Do you take risks or play it safe?

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufock by T.S. Eliot is a poem I fell in love with at school. We did not actually study Elliot but his poems were in Soundings, a school book many people my age (in Ireland) will remember. I still have two copies in my possession, one is mine and the other is my sisters. While the English teacher extolled the virtues of Yeats and Kinsella I lost myself in the poetry of the American.
I find it difficult to pick my favourite bit of the poem but do not want to just put the whole lot here. I suppose the first lines I love just purely for the sound of them. The way they ease off the tongue in a fluid, lapping manner.

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;


Whenever I say to Beth "Let's go" I end up saying this whole quote. She will probably think I'm a bit mad in later years. Although, my mother used to say "Let's go with the Glen Abbey show" when we were younger and I just thought it was funny. I still do not know where that came from!

As I got older different parts of the poem struck me. As I had never studied the poem I did not stop to think what it was about. I just loved it for the language and the way it was unlike the poems I had read to that point. It was like the ramblings inside someones head. When I was in my mid twenties I began to ponder the meaning of the poem and what Eliot was trying to convey.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!

Getting older I realised I did not want to be like this man who could not make up his mind and ultimately missed something that may have been profound. It occurred to me that risks not taken were great tragedies in life. It does not matter if situations, relationships or even jobs do not turn out how you thought they would. The important thing was to try them, risk getting hurt or being wrong. I have gotten hurt and been wrong many times but I try not to regret the choices I have made. They are my choices and if they had not been ventured nothing would have been gained, even if sometimes the only thing gained was a lesson not to make that choice again.

I grow old . . . I grow old . . .
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Still makes me smile!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


In my literary teens this quote from James Joyce's Ulysses would run through my head at various times, usually when thinking of my first love. Even now it still makes my heart beat faster. This year it will be 90 years since Ulysses was published and I believe it has not lost it's power!

…I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

I love quotes. Used to surround myself with them in my teens. Over the next few days I will pass on my favourite ones but none mean more to me than this one.

Monday, January 23, 2012

My New Life

There are so many jobs to do around the house but still I sit here on the laptop willing something to burst forth. My 2 year old is happily watching Special Agent Oso. Maybe she watches too much TV but my reasoning is that she will be in school before she knows it and there will be no TV allowed from Monday to Friday after homework. Although, that is what I tell myself and this may not come to pass. There probably will be telly during the week but hopefully after homework! When I was pregnant I had so many idealised notions of parenthood. My children would not watch telly or eat sweets. I was SO naïve!

Five days ago I finished the first draft of my novel. I’m not exactly happy with it. It needs a lot of work and there are things I want to add in. I know I rushed to finish it but I have the time now to edit it and I plan to do my best.

Writing is something I always wanted to do. I remember writing a story in primary school about blackboards that came to life after all the kids went home. They ruled the school and snubbed the whiteboards who were only starting to come into my school in the mid 1980’s. Back then I thought I would grow up to write children’s stories. I thought that until my 6th year in secondary school. I wrote an essay then that really impressed the English teacher. She actually said I could be the next Stephen King. He was my favourite author at the time. Still is. Now I know that the important word in that sentence was “could”. I could be the next Stephen King but that was not going to just fall into my lap! I needed to work for it. That was 13 years ago and I’m only now starting to work towards it. Up until now I have done various college courses, random jobs and become a mother. I even have a MA. But what I don’t have is a published book, children’s or otherwise. So back in October when a friend mentioned the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair Competition I thought “This is it”. Call it a sign or a kick up the bum or maybe it just came around at the right time in my life, whatever it was it woke me up from a life of just living day to day and not really knowing what to do with myself. So here it is: My New Life.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Years Resolutions

I've decided one New Years Resolution I've made this year is to update this a little more. Hopefully, I can keep it up!

On the weight loss side of things I hit my goal weight with Weight Watchers before Christmas. A total of 3 stone 2lb loss. I put on 5.5lb over the holidays! Back now to 3 stone off, 9st 9lb. I'm happy with that! The wonderful thing is that I am now free with Weight Watchers!

Beth is now 2 years and 4 months. She had a wonderful Christmas and the living room is chock a block with toys. Her favourite phrases at the moment are "I don't believe it!" and "Phew! That was close". I'm not sure where she got either phrase but they are so cute. Here is a picture of her in her nurses outfit she got off Gaggy for Christmas. She calls it her doctors outfit.

The big news with me is that I quit my job 2 months ago to follow my dream and become a writer. I am now on the last chapter of my novel Bleeker Avenue. I really disappear into it and when I come out it is hard to re-focus on my normal life. The cleaning and laundry were left for too long! Beth had been spending lots of time with her Dad and Gaggy but not much with me so at the weekend we spent a lot of time together just doing fun stuff like walking around shops and going to the library and museum. She loves the bubble car and the Vikings in the Museum. She calls them the "Bikings". Here is a photo of her in the Vikings exhibit. The museum here is very good and the staff are really friendly. 
I have to say I'm really proud of myself for the weight loss. This is the skinniest I've been since I started college 12 years ago. I feel better in myself too. I've more energy and I am generally happier. Here is a photo of Beth and me just before I headed off to a wedding on the 21st December. Fake tan again. It was one of those gradual tans that I had done in a beauty place. By day 3 I looked like an Oompa Loompa!